One of the leading Republican critics of the concept of raising taxes on the wealthy is Sen. Joe Kyrillos and he wrote an op-ed piece opposing the so-called millionaires tax. Kyrillos told NJTV News Managing Editor Mike Schneider that the high income taxes in New Jersey cause people to move to other states, so the state loses those people’s philanthropy and wealth, which hurts nonprofit organizations.
Kyrillos said that New Jersey has been driving people away from the state for many years now, not just high net worth people and wealthy people but all kinds of people. He said that the problem with chasing out wealthy people is that it hurts middle income people and poor people the most. He said that the rich are going to do just fine and he is not against a millionaires tax because he is worried about millionaires. He said he is worried about it because they pay such a disproportionate amount of money to run the state government. He said the top 50 income earners pay 5 percent of the income tax, so losing a few of those people equates to tens of millions of dollars.
Kyrillos said that New Jersey’s income tax is progressive, so it is already the highest and most effective rate in the country. With Pennsylvania right across the river, where the highest rate is 3 percent and New Jersey’s is already at 9 percent, he said that the natural human instinct is to live in Pennsylvania. He said that it is a math problem and it doesn’t work and New Jersey ends up losing people, their philanthropy and their wealth, so nonprofit groups are hurt.
According to Kyrillos, New Jersey has enormous pension obligations and people that have worked hard in the public sector were promised that pension and New Jersey has to deliver. He said that New Jersey has a very generous public school system, extremely generous to the 30 urban districts which take two-thirds of all public education money. He said that is a big bill to pay and it is because of those bills and those people that New Jersey has to keep successful people in the state and not send them to other places. He said that successful people moving to other states has been the trend so when New Jersey leaders say they are going to raise income taxes again, raise corporate taxes, suspend economic incentives, it takes an already very weak economy and makes it worse.