Nearly 75 percent of the 786 CPAs who responded to a New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants (NJCPA) survey this month said New Jersey’s economy would either get “significantly worse” (31 percent) or “marginally worse” (44 percent) over the long term under Governor Murphy’s proposed budget plan. Only 14 percent said it would end up better.
Respondents mostly blamed high taxes on corporations and individuals as a reason for the negative sentiment, which they said could eventually lead to more unemployment and an exodus of businesses and individuals from the state.
Overall almost 55 percent of the respondents rated the state’s current economy at “fair,” compared to 28 percent who said it is “good,” and 17 percent who said it’s “poor.” Only 1 percent rated the current economy as “excellent.”
Actions that were cited by respondents to improve the state’s economy included less regulation, lower marginal tax rates, repealing mandatory sick leave legislation, decoupling the school funding formula from property taxes, streamlining the police forces in the state and converting pension plans to 401(k) retirement accounts. Respondents backed a concerted effort to make the state more attractive to businesses and an overall desire to reduce borrowings.
Those who believed a positive outcome could come from the proposed budget cited Governor Murphy’s plans to tax millionaires, increase the real estate tax deduction, improve infrastructure, legalize recreational marijuana and allow New Jersey students to attend community colleges for free.
“The survey is a telling sign of what is keeping accountants up at night. They are deeply concerned about the economy and getting New Jersey back on track for both individuals and businesses,” said Ralph Albert Thomas, CEO and executive director at the NJCPA.
In a breakdown by region, 45 percent of respondents live in Northern New Jersey (Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Passaic, Sussex, Union or Warren county), 38 percent reside in Central New Jersey (Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean or Somerset county), while 14 percent live in Southern New Jersey (Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester or Salem county).
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