William E Cleary Sr. | CNBNews Editor/publisher
This past year two elderly families who lived in the *Riverview Heights section of Gloucester City were forced to move because they couldn't afford to live in their homes any longer. These were longtime residents who have resided in our immediate neighborhood for 25 years plus.
Watching the one senior citizen being evicted by a Camden County Sheriff Officer was heartbreaking. Besides giving up her home she had to give up her dog Popeye along with her cat because the place where she moved to didn't allow pets. Much of her belongings were placed on the curb for trash pickup as there was no room for it in the county home. The other elderly residents said by moving out of Gloucester City and Camden County to Gloucester County they actually were going to save $2,000 because their taxes, utility costs and insurance were lower.
Today both homes remain empty.
We looked at our 2015-16 local tax bill and found we were paying a net tax of $5200. This year our 2018-19 tax revealed the net tax on our home has jumped to $6100 for an increase of $900. Likewise, our local water/sewer taxes over the same period have also increased dramatically along with what we pay the Camden County MUA.
We, like other retires, live on a fixed income. And like others, these tax increases force us to cut back our spending on our medicine, our food, the maintenance of our home and our entertainment. It doesn't seem fair that the elderly and those disabled should be placed in a situation where after working all their lives they now have to decide whether they should eat or buy their medicine just so they can pay their taxes.
DOES NEW JERSEY CARE ABOUT THE ELDERLY/DISABLED?
One has to wonder if the Governor or the state legislators even know if any of us exists. After they are elected to office they disappear from sight and mind. You never hear from them until the next election.
Since the new Governor took office in 2018 we have seen the state taxes on gasoline go up twice in his first year in office.
And that is just one of many tax increases.
According to Joanne Degnan, the Communications Coordinator for the
New Jersey Business & Industry Association some of the other taxes that increased include:
- The corporate business tax (now 11.5 percent)
- The increase in the top income tax rate (now 10.75 percent)
- A new state surcharge on ride-sharing services (Uber/Lyft)
- A tax on e-cigarettes
- Extending the 6.25 percent state sales tax and hotel occupancy tax to ‘transient accommodations’ (Airbnb rentals). You are going to pay more for a shore rental this year because of this state tax.
- The new state law that allowed Jersey City to impose a 1 percent payroll tax.
- Raising the state minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024, which will impact small business owners
"On the governor’s desk right now is a bill to allow municipalities, counties and local authorities to charge property owners a fee based on how much they contribute to stormwater runoff (dubbed the ‘rain tax’ by some media outlets). Another bill to expand paid family leave benefits is also on the governor’s desk," said Degnan.
"As for how many total bills have been proposed during the 2018-2019 legislative session, there are literally thousands and you can find them on the Office of Legislative Services website (searchable by keyword) here. Bills signed into law are also available on the OLS website click here. "
It has been shown that eventually, these tax increases trickle down to state residents in one form or another. For example business just past their costs on to the consumer. Likewise, with landlords, they raise the rents of tenants.
Our Governor and the state legislators seem to think that we can continue to tax and spend without any ramifications. But, look further and you'll find that they are living in a make-believe world.
Global Atlantic recently published the findings of a national survey of over 4,000 Americans and how their expectations for retirement costs align with reality. In addition to the national data, the 10 most populous states, including New Jersey, were oversampled, giving us a close look at the spending habits of Garden State residents.
Why is it so expensive to live in New Jersey?
Housing is a big factor in the high cost of living for retirees. More than one-fourth (27%) still have mortgage payments after retiring. These mortgage holders are spending, on average, 39% more than the typical American retiree with a mortgage ($1,838 vs. $1,021 a month). On average, those who rent spend 35% more a month than the typical American retiree who rents their home ($1,020 vs. $753 a month) according to the Global Atlantic survey.
Below see the data box comparing the costs of living in New Jersey to other states in the survey. The facts show it costs more to live in New Jersey.
In January 2019 New Jersey 101.5's David Matthau reports more than "5,700 millionaires packed their bags and left" over the last year. Because of higher taxes. They are among a huge exodus from New Jersey right now. U.S. Census data shows the state is losing around 1,000 people a week. "We now know a good portion of them are among the state’s top wage earners," Matthau reported. (read further)
The same thing is happening in the state of New York.
In a recent press conference, New York Governor Mario Cuomo blamed a $2.3 billion budget deficit in New York on the compounding effect of federal tax reform on the state’s sky-high taxes. And according to the Wall Street Journal, “(Cuomo) specifically mentioned Florida as an attractive option for New Yorkers who are unhappy with the change in the tax law.” (read further)
Florida has no state income tax.
Local politicians, along with those in county and state government positions, need to act responsibly when it comes to fiscal matters. For once we urge them to look for ways to cut taxes instead of increasing them. For once we urge them to think of the people who are living on fixed incomes who are worried about whether to pay taxes or buy their medicine.
*RIVERVIEW HEIGHTS consists of the following streets: 800 and 900 blocks of Powell Street, Stites Avenue, Barnard Avenue, Lane Avenue, Little Hunter Street, the unit blocks of West and East Thompson Avenue, Stinson Avenue, Harley Avenue, Burdsall Avenue.
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