TRENTON, N.J. – Did Democrats really heed the call for a more affordable New Jersey after the November election? It seems unlikely as Democrats rebuffed Assembly Republican attempts on Wednesday to provide immediate, expansive and permanent tax relief for struggling families in the state’s massive $50.6 billion budget.
“I want to offer an opportunity to our colleagues on the other side of the aisle to do something even better today. Let’s roll the sales tax back to those battle days of Jim McGreevey and Jon Corzine when the sales tax was only 6%. It would save taxpayers of the state of New Jersey about $1.1 billion. That would be real tax relief,” Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-Morris) said of his substitution for the bill (A1522) creating a back-to-school 10-day sales tax holiday.
Assemblywoman Beth Sawyer also moved to amend the sales tax holiday bill to permanently exempt the school supplies from the state’s 6.625% sales tax.
“The savings from this holiday are so little that it is tone deaf to how much prices have increased because of inflation. New Jersey is still less affordable. If you want to save people money, exempt these items from the sales tax permanently. If any of our members want to be serious about making New Jersey more affordable, I ask you to support this amendment,” Sawyer (R-Gloucester) said.
For the second time in three days, Democrats rejected Assemblywoman Aura Dunn’s efforts to amend the bill (A3852) to make the credits larger and include more families.
“This plan falls short. We can do more. I propose an amendment that combines the best parts of New Jersey Policy Perspective’s two proposals. The amendment helps people with children above 6 years old and provides larger credit amounts, while this bill only provides credits to families with children under the age of 6. We know bigger kids, bigger expenses,” Dunn (R-Bergen) said. “If we truly care about making New Jersey more affordable, vote for this amendment and maximize tax relief to low-income and middle-class families. We go big, we go bold or we go home.”
Republican Budget Officer Hal Wirths pointed out a mistake Democrats made on child tax credit bill. They thought it provided help immediately, but nobody will get a credit until 2024.
“This bill was written wrong. The language in this bill right now says, ‘This act shall take effect immediately and shall apply to the taxable years beginning on and after Jan. 1, 2023.’ No one is going to see relief from this bill until the year 2024. This is not immediate by any definition of the word immediate,” Wirths (R-Sussex) said before motioning to table the bill.
Spending under Gov. Phil Murphy’s term has increased by 46%. Despite taxpayers paying more than ever, spending in the 2023 fiscal year budget still exceeds revenue by $250 million. The bill (A4402) advanced to the governor’s desk along party lines.