OPINION: Jexit: How to fix New Jersey’s nonstop exodus

By Chris Rysz, Opinion Editor

If it wasn’t already obvious, living in New Jersey isn’t very friendly to any taxpayer’s wallet. Many New Jerseyans don’t enjoy the fact that they cough up some of  the highest sales tax, state income tax and property taxes in the nation. Therefore, our state has seen an increasing trend of residents simply moving out. Knowing how expensive N.J. is, I don’t blame people for moving out. Our state politicians need to make N.J. affordable for ordinary residents of our state.

For years, N.J. has had more people move out than in, and 2018 was no different. The Garden State clocked in at number one in outward moves, according to the United Van Lines moving study. The survey also found the reasons for N.J.’s exodus: jobs and retirement both at 35 percent.

Pertaining to jobs, N.J. is an expensive state for businesses; only Massachusetts had higher business costs in 2018 than N.J., according to Forbes. Higher business costs make it much harder for businesses to have jobs, more specifically good paying jobs, available. While the Garden State is tough for jobs/business, I really think it’s the toughest for retirees. Aside from the steep property taxes that all retirees face, some retirees in N.J. are subject to a state government with one of the worst pension liabilities in the nation, leaving a huge uncertainty for a safe and secure pension.

The cause of this devastating reality for N.J. jobs and retirees is the nonstop taxation and across-the-board spending by N.J.’s politicians. Also, the tax and spend trend is gonna be very hard to change as N.J. has had one party, Democratic control for many years. Therefore, my ultimate dream of significant tax decreases on all brackets, and businesses, along with spending decreases probably isn’t realistic, but there are ways to work towards a more affordable N.J.

Taking things to local level, the West Essex School District has recently approved the 2019-2020 budget. What’s interesting to note is that our school district saw an increase of state aid of 11.61 percent, according to Tap into West Essex. Although this does sound cool on paper, the truth is…do we really need that and how much state aid do we really need, if anything? Maybe the state can keep that money and cut taxes for the residents and businesses of our state.

Even with all of these costs, there is something that’s been emerging for a while in N.J., and especially this past year: a tourism boom. Tourism in N.J. not only supports hundreds of thousands of jobs, but also generated $5 billion in state and local taxes in 2018, according to Gov. Phil Murphy (D). If N.J. can capitalize on this exciting boom it would be significantly pleasing to taxpayers as this revenue can replace tax dollars. Unfortunately, any tax cuts for New Jerseyans don’t seem like a reality as Gov. Murphy has increased overall spending by $2.7 billion in his first budget.

Making cuts and changes to any budget is tough, as we all want so many things, but if we’re talking about making this state more affordable and less tax-reliant, then those can be the changes that will end our Jexit.