More than 60% of the 334 certified public accountants (CPAs) surveyed by the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants after Gov. Phil Murphy presented his proposed budget for New Jersey on Feb. 25 said they strongly opposed a millionaires tax, and almost the same amount said they would not change their level of support for an expanded millionaires tax even if additional tax revenue was generated for property tax relief. In his address, Governor Murphy called the millionaires tax “a matter of fairness” to the middle class.
Half of the survey respondents also said they would not alter their support for a millionaires tax despite Senate President Sweeney indicating that he would support such a tax this year if the additional tax revenue was earmarked for the public worker pension fund. He has been opposed to the millionaires tax in the past.
Similarly, the majority of respondents (66%) were opposed to increasing the sales tax, such as a hike back to 7%, as a means of increasing revenue in the state. Governor Murphy had not mentioned the sales tax in his proposal. However, 54% of survey participants were in favor of the proposed $1.65 per pack increase in the tax on cigarettes, which the Governor estimated would bring in a potential $218 million in additional tax revenue.
Overall, the economy will “get significantly worse” if the Governor’s proposed budget was adopted, according to almost half of the survey respondents (48%). Survey participants instead cited the need for his budget proposal to include more emphasis on spending cuts to fully fund pension costs and on having more fiscal responsibility.
“We welcome Governor Murphy’s commitment to growing the state’s economy. However, as an organization representing CPAs and their clients, we do not believe the Governor’s plan to tax millionaires is in the best interest of New Jersey businesses and residents and could lead to both leaving the state. The survey reflects what CPAs and their clients believe is needed to fix the state’s economy,” said Ralph Albert Thomas, CPA (DC), CGMA, CEO and executive director at the NJCPA.
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