REVIEW & OUTLOOK
New Jersey’s Business Model
Phil Murphy wants to raise taxes to offer free tuition.
By The Editorial Board
April 6, 2018 6:32 p.m. ET
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Herewith the latest installment in our continuing coverage of the race to the bottom between two of America’s most progressive Democratic governors— Dannel Malloy of Connecticut and just-elected Phil Murphy of New Jersey. This week Mr. Murphy made his bid for the lead in his state’s downward cycle.
Governor Murphy has proposed that New Jersey provide what has come to be known as “free” community college. It is already “free” in New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Tennessee. Attached to Governor Murphy’s free-tuition commitment would be an outlay of $45 million in grants, which will come out of the state’s already stretched budget.
Governor Murphy argues that this “investment” makes sense because a larger pool of community-college graduates will attract entrepreneurs and start-ups to New Jersey. “Community college is a linchpin opportunity for us,” he says. Of course making New Jersey’s community colleges free depends on another linchpin: imposing higher taxes on other residents of the state to pay for it.
The budget that Governor Murphy’s submitted last month, a 4.2% spending increase, proposes raising the state’s highest individual tax rate to 10.75% from 8.97% on incomes above $1 million, restructuring business taxes to raise more revenue and raising the sales tax to 7%. That is essentially the governance model Governor Malloy has used since 2011, with famously unfortunate economic results for Connecticut.
New Jersey is already dead last in the Tax Foundation’s 2018 ranking of state overall business tax climates. It’s 50th in property taxes but only 48th in individual taxes. Perhaps Mr. Murphy can overtake New York and California to get to the bottom.
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Well, all I can advise Taxpayers in the Pepuls Republik of Nu Jerzee is to get out.
If at all possible.
Those of us, who are stuck, here have stand, fight, and die on this proverbial “hill”. For whatever reason, we have no good choices left.
And, as the old Taxpayers dies out, who is going to replace them. Not the wealthy; not the young; not even anyone who has a choice.
“…if you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.” -Churchill, The Second World War, vol. 1, The Gathering Storm (London: Cassell, 1948, 272, on the British guarantee to Poland in Spring 1939.
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