The battle over taxes in Trenton

A bipartisan group of New Jersey lawmakers are balking raising the “gas tax” and eliminating the estate tax. (There are additional tax cutting provisions in the gas tax bill, which would reduce taxes on average families by more than $1000 per year.) It is understandable why Republican legislators do not want to raise the “gas tax”; it would shatter the myth they are paragons of fiscal conservatism. Democrats, on the other, hand not want to eliminate the estate tax claiming it is a giveaway to the state’s wealthiest residents.

Sen. Raymond Lesniak, who may run for the Democratic nomination for governor next year, said the compromise proposal on the table is an example of “tax injustice.” All taxes are unjust because they are coercive. Taxes are an involuntary exchanges (legalized theft), hence they violate a fundamental principle that supposedly we all supposedly embrace, theft is wrong. Yet when it comes to taxes the notion of justice is thrown out the window and replaced with “needs” of the people, but more accurately the “needs” of the government.

Ironically, the so-called gas tax is the only thing the government gets right when it comes to raising revenue, because it is user fee, and user fees are what we are all used to when we buy goods and services in the marketplace. No one wants to pay more for any good or service.  (Topic for another day, should the government “own” roads, highways and bridges.)

Politics is supposed to be part of compromise. Historically, compromises occurred in order to impose a new tax, for example, the federal income tax (1913), while reducing other taxes, the high tariffs of the early 20th century. Of course, the promise of keeping the federal income tax no higher than 7% (with only 2% of taxpayers liable for the first income tax) was shattered quickly when the United States entered World War I in 1917 when the top tax rate went to 77% and virtually all wage earners began paying the tax.) In addition, tariffs were increased to their previous levels after the Republicans took control of the federal government after the 1920 election. Thus, there is no guarantee that politicians will keep their promises to the people regarding taxes.

The reason the Transportation Trust Fund is going broke at the close of the month is because both Republicans and Democrats have mismanaged it for the past several decades. Road construction costs must be reduced so taxpayers can get substantial value for their gas taxes. The Democrats must realize that the Transportation Trust Fund is not a piggy bank for construction unions. The people’s pocketbooks come first, not unions.

Legislators are good at one thing, winning elections. Although they are put in office to “govern” but they consistently spend people’s money irresponsibly, they tax the people mercilessly, over regulate business activities and intervene unnecessarily in the people’s personal affairs, i.e., marijuana prohibition and infringe on the people’s right to self-defense

It is time to have adults on both sides of the aisle in the New Jersey State Legislature realize that they screwed up the state so badly that the people are refusing to support a relatively small hike in the gas tax so the roads and bridges can be in tip top shape instead of New Jersey looking like a Third World country.

It is time to fund the TTF, put the state government on a major diet, eliminate job destroying regulations, and provide needed tax relief to the beleaguered working families of New Jersey. That’s the prescription to revitalize the New Jersey economy.

 

 

 

 

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