There’s a perfect storm coming across the Garden State’s horizons, a storm that has been brewing due to an obsession with raising taxes by the majority Democratic Party in the capital Trenton, and made drastically worse by Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration. All of this comes at a cataclysmic time set to spell nothing but disaster for New Jersey’s businesses, workers, and residents.
Why such a bleak forecast? Well, to answer this you have to begin with the hardships faced by many small businesses due to the COVID-19 lockdowns, which were understandable for a brief period. However, the continuation of draconian measures by the governor, with no end date in sight, has put such a heavy weight upon them that many are choosing to close their doors for fear of complete financial ruin.
In the coming months, this will be compounded as industries will be hit by retroactive increases in the corporate business tax, a new millionaire’s tax, nearly a billion dollars in payroll taxes, a 2.5 percent tax on all health insurance premiums, and looming increases to the minimum wage.
At the same time, Trenton is attempting to draw more money from the dried-up taxpayer as well with October’s gas tax surge on top of the outrageously significant toll hikes foisted upon drivers this summer. All of this will undoubtedly raise delivery costs and supply chain prices that will be passed on to consumers. Thus, Trenton is digging the state’s economy deeper into a financial hole without as much as a ray of hope to climb back out.
This perfect storm has New Jersey workers in its crosshairs as well. The prospect for job creation in this environment is tenuous to say the least. One need only look around the nation to see the difference. While the rest of the country is seeing an economic recovery of varying degrees, New Jersey is going in the direct opposite direction with 27,000 new unemployment claims, an increase at rates not seen since the peak of the lockdown in July. Conversely, the nation as a whole has seen 36,000 fewer claims in the same period. Once the federal dollars from the CARES Act are exhausted, unemployment in New Jersey will be in a free-fall.
Yet, this doesn’t have to be our destiny. The governor can take swift action and freeze all prospective tax increases and lift the continued lockdown measures to allow revenues to immediately begin to flow. This will hold the vicious cycle of driving middle-class residents and job creators out of the state and give New Jersey a fighting chance for its economy to recover from the stifling pandemic lockdown.
For decades, we have witnessed states with a lower cost of living, lower taxes, and a lower cost of doing business prosper while New Jersey spins its wheels trying to tax and borrow its way out of financial catastrophes. If there was ever a time to change the direction, it’s now before it’s too late.
Gerard P. Scharfenberger
Gerard P. Scharfenberger, Ph.D., is a Republican New Jersey assemblyman representing the state’s 13th Legislative District.
The views expressed herein are solely those of the author. As a nonpartisan public charity, The Epoch Times does not endorse these statements and takes no position on political candidates.