The predominant topic in Trenton this season is, how will Gov. Phil Murphy get his budget passed? The governor has proposed taxing income over $1 million. He also wants to restore the sales tax, currently at 6.625 percent, to 7 percent where it’s been for a decade.
Legislative leaders have been noncommittal. They’ve called tax increases “a last resort.”
Now, a poll commissioned by New Jersey Policy Perspective, a liberal think tank, suggests the public supports Murphy’s taxes. Of 600 respondents, 70 percent support raising the income tax on households earning $1 million or more a year, while just 24 percent oppose. Fifty percent support reinstating a 7 percent sales tax, while only 37 percent oppose.
The head of the organization that commissioned the poll says, while taxes are generally unpopular, when you connect taxes to investments in key areas, the numbers change.
“This should give comfort to people who understand that, to members of the Legislature who know that we need to improve our investments in transportation, in school aid, in all of those things, property tax relief, put those together with higher taxes, it becomes possible,” said New Jersey Policy Perspective President Gordon MacInnes.
As word of the poll got around, a Republican we spoke to at the State House was sticking with his party’s opposition to any tax hikes.
“What we really need to be looking at is helping to restructure government and reducing the total cost of government so we don’t have to continue to have these kinds of taxes,” said Sen. Steve Oroho.
Poll respondents also support a surcharge on the corporate business tax, which Senate President Steve Sweeney has proposed instead of a tax on wealthy individuals.
And by a margin of 50 to 36, the federal tax law passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump gets the disapproval of New Jerseyans polled.