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Tax talks in Trenton are merely a tease

moneylogo_optBY JOSH McMAHON
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM
COMMENTARY

Those people in Trenton are teasing taxpayers again.

This time the talk isn’t about whether to lower taxes but rather which one is the best one. And as you might expect, there’s plenty of partisan posturing.

Gov. Chris Christie and the Republicans champion an income tax cut while the Democrats, lead by Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Shelia Oliver, are pushing property tax relief.

Let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to pay less in taxes? But that’s not going to happen — at least not by any significant amount.

For one thing, the Christie 10 percent income tax cut doesn’t amount to much for most people. When the full reduction is implemented in three years, the average guy or gal will realize a few extra bucks each week — say $3 or $5.

Not that most won’t gladly take it, but is it a life changer? Not really. Do you remember how much of a difference Christine Whitman’s 30 percent income tax cut made? I didn’t think so.

Democrats are talking up property tax help but haven’t said exactly what that would look like. If it’s simply more state aid to municipalities, forget about it. The taxpayers will never see a cent. The local politicians will simply find new ways to spend the extra cash from Trenton.

And if it’s rebates — forget about it. We’ve all seen what happens to rebates. They’re good for a year or two, and then the government gets caught in a fiscal squeeze and the first thing to pop out of the budget — and out of the homeowner’s pocket — is the rebate.

It’s happened how many times before? About eight or ten years ago we were told about permanently sustainable property tax relief. Remember that? (It was just before the state witnessed a series of years when the property taxes jumped by 6 or 7 percent every 12 months.)

There’s nothing permanent about rebates. And they do nothing to control property taxes. The income tax cut — small though it would be — probably has more staying power.



 

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