Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce issued the following statement in reply to Gov. Murphy‘s State of the State Message:
The state of the State of New Jersey, for the vast majority of working people, is far different from the one embraced by Governor Murphy.
The issues that the majority of people grapple with daily are not green energy or marijuana growing. They are the high cost of living in New Jersey created by unconscionable and unfair property taxes, high income taxes and business taxes, endless fees, the maze of state regulations that hamper business growth and, of course, the state’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis.
The state’s tax burden is spurring an exodus from New Jersey as individuals and businesses find more appealing and more affordable places to live and work.
Yet, the governor failed to acknowledge the flight of hard working, skilled people from our state as anything significant.
The administration prefers to focus on a series of progressive ideas such as the triumph of legalizing marijuana, which will fail to deliver the tax revenue windfall that was promised and do nothing to stop the illegal marijuana trade through the black market.
The governor’s promise that New Jersey will be 100 percent carbon energy free by 2050 is a pipedream.
It is disappointing that the governor did not focus his speech on New Jersey’s dire financial situation – made worse in 2020 by government-imposed business shutdowns, which reduced tax revenue, increased unemployment and closed many businesses permanently.
The governor offered little hope that 2021 will be any different.
The governor did acknowledge the need for business stimulus and his approval of an $11.5 billion tax break program for real estate projects and businesses that keep or create jobs. Another $2.6 billion in tax credits has been allotted for the movie industry. And let’s not forget the $4 billion the state will borrow to close its budget gap.
Providing tax incentives to help companies create jobs benefits the state only if those jobs pay salaries that meet the demands of middle class living in New Jersey.
The state is losing good paying jobs and attracting lower-wage jobs. That will not grow the state’s middle class, and neither will the $15 minimum wage that the governor spoke about.
New Jersey needs a tax policy that will unlock New Jersey’s potential to attract investments that creates jobs that support middle-class families.
Borrowing more and more money only increases the financial burden on individuals and businesses, causing both to flee the state.
To end the vicious cycle of raising taxes and borrowing money for grants to undo the damage of high taxes, the state must reduce spending, reduce regulations, focus on its core mission and cut property taxes.
New Jersey cannot afford to ignore its fiscal reality or conceal it with vague promises of a better future. The time for tough decisions has arrived.
Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce represents District 26, which includes communities within Morris, Essex and Passaic counties.