Sweeney Says Millionaires' Tax Should Be Last Resort

Feb 9, 2018

Senate President Steve Sweeney

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy could face an uphill battle getting the legislature to approve a tax surcharge on income over a million dollars.

Senate President Steve Sweeney had been an advocate of a millionaires’ tax, but now says it’s the last thing he wants to consider.

He’s backed away from his previous support of the idea because of recent federal tax code changes that limit state and local property tax deductions.

“How many people want to stay here paying 14 percent income tax to stay in New Jersey? That’s the question. And until I actually find the answers, what’s wrong with doing the due diligence first? Before you rush to do something, let’s do it intelligently.”

Sweeney says there would be no need for a millionaires’ tax if lawmakers can find ways to reduce the cost of government.

“Sharing of services, consolidations, are in my mind the low-hanging fruit. We got 600 school districts. You don’t need them all. Now is the time to have this conversation. 60 percent of you tax bill is schools. We have great schools. And we’ll still have great schools. You just don’t have to pay as much as we are.”

Sweeney wants a comprehensive evaluation of the state’s tax structure.