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Is it clear now how Christie is pounding New Jersey’s middle class?

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

EDITORIAL: Now that Gov. “Shared Sacrifice” has line-item vetoed any hope anyone had of protecting New Jersey’s middle class, we can at last see what a disproportionate share we’re paying.


Seriously: Would an extra $5,785 in taxes for someone making $1.5 million have forced them to pack up the plantation and move out? Did we all just fall off the back of a turnip truck?

That $5,785 is the extra amount someone in that bracket would have paid the state once he or she had deducted it from federal income taxes – IF Christie hadn’t chucked the millionaires tax approved by New Jersey lawmakers.

It’s something Christie says the rich could ill afford, as if he would’ve been some kind of Robin Hood if he accepted the compromise.

Never mind their corporate jobs, most of which are probably in New York City. These guys simply wouldn’t stand for such highway robbery.

“To hell with New Jersey! Where are we going to find an extra $5,785? What, do they think I’m made of money? That’s it, hon. We’re moving!”

Flash to the additional $6,000+ that a public servant making $65,000 will have to fork over, thanks to Christie’s pension and health-care “reforms.”

Jerry DeMarco Publisher/Editor

You don’t need a calculator to recognize this comes close to 10 percent.

Doesn’t seem a fair “share,” does it?

Now factor in the number of jobs lost as a result of all the across-the-board cutbacks in police, fire and teacher positions – not to mention all the other public jobs. New Jersey is already at 9 percent unemployment, not counting those who’ve exhausted their benefits or are under-employed.

Overall, is it worth it to New Jersey to suffer these kinds of losses – and, with it, the tragic foreclosures, the decreased retail income and the increased need for physical and mental health services likely to follow? Will these new requirements that make public service workers dig much deeper into their pockets put us on the road to fiscal stability, or is it actually going to get worse – at precisely the time Christie begins campaigning for higher office?

When you take into account that a whopping $25 per public employee will go to the towns (you can look it up), we’re not really looking at “relief,” are we? It’s an enormous nut for public employees to swallow while, for the state overall, it’s like pissing in the ocean.

On the other hand:

Oregon has an 11 percent tax rate for top incomes over $250,000. New York’s 12.65 top-tax percentage starts at $500,000.

The counterproposal to Christie’s plan would have bumped the rate to 10.75 percent from 8.97 – but for those making more than $1 million. Assemble all those individual $5,785 increases (and that’s just on those making a paltry $1.5 million) and pretty soon you’re talking REAL money.

I’m sorry, but by vetoing that measure, the Notorious G.O.V. has essentially told the majority of us to piss off.

As a PolitickerNJ columnist put so succinctly:

“From World War II until 1980, the U.S. economy and personal income for the bottom four-fifths of American workers grew at the same rate of 160 percent after inflation. Manufacturing was booming, industrial unions were strong, and the wages, health benefits and pensions they won for their members propelled a consumer economy in which an average worker could afford to buy a home in the suburbs, a new car, go on vacation and send his or her children to college.

“Since 1980, the U.S. economy has grown 140 percent after inflation, but real wages for the bottom four-fifths of American workers actually dropped by four percent.”

In a nutshell, that means most of us are worse off than we were 30 years ago. And the prospects for a turnaround aren’t too rosy right now, given the hammer that Christie is bringing down.

The only thing leaving New Jersey right now are jobs – occupations once held by what was the mighty middle class. The millionaires aren’t going anywhere. They wouldn’t rise up and revolt if required to pay less than $6,000 more in taxes. And they certainly wouldn’t head for the hills.

Compare that with dual-income households who struggle to afford child care while they work, who have to swallow the costs for school districts with both a superintendent and business administrator making a combined $250,000 (and that’s the lowest of the low end of the pay scale; it’s way more in some districts).

The Democratic counterbid dedicated most of the millionaires tax toward hiring more teachers and improving the overall quality of education in New Jersey, with what’s left over covering the state income tax on pensions for those of us making up to $100,000. Christie was having none of it.

This from a man who pays more than $100,000 each to nineteen (count ‘em: 19) assistants out of our pockets. Nice work if you can get it, right?

I’m not sure why we don’t see Christie go after the insurance companies and their outrageous rates. Or why he hasn’t toyed with the idea of a flat sales tax — nudge it up a percentage or two, make it stick across-the-board (yes, the same rate for yachts as for mopeds) and see whether we can’t knock property taxes down that way. Seems he’d rather raise the bridge than lower the river.

Y’know what? Once the kids are grown and retirement beckons, the only people thinking about moving out will be the fleeced middle class, which apparently is what the Notorious G.O.V. wants.

Way to go, big guy.


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