Regina Egea: Why can’t NJ do what Massachusetts did?
Regina Egea is one of the smartest thinkers on public policy in New Jersey. An M.B.A., former AT&T executive, state Treasury Department official, and Governor’s Chief of Staff – Egea also served in local government as a Deputy Mayor and School Board Member. As President of the Garden State Initiative, she is collecting the data, studying the issues, and coming up with solutions to New Jersey’s most pressing fiscal concerns.
For New Jersey Republicans, she’s a breath of fresh air in a political culture too often dominated by stale thinking. If the NJGOP wants to seriously contest for power again, it will be folks like Regina Egea who will provide the policy prescriptions that will inform the narrative on why Republicans should be elected.
Egea recently wrote: “It is clear that we are at our ‘fork in the road’ in New Jersey and there’s a clear path to improve our economy. Massachusetts decided a generation ago to shed its ‘Taxachussetts’ label and cut its taxes by 25% between 1977 and 2014 while growing its economy and maintaining a public school system at the top of national rankings at a lower cost per pupil than New Jersey… we need leadership now willing to make the necessary reforms to reduce spending in Trenton and throughout New Jersey governments before ‘it’s over.’”
Below are excerpts from Regina Egea’s op-ed published yesterday in the Star-Ledger and on NJ.com:
“New Jersey… is losing income tax revenue. Using 2015-16 IRS data, the Bank of America analysis indicates that high tax states – such as New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and California – are currently experiencing a net loss of high income earners (defined by the Internal Revenue Service). Florida, which has no state income tax, experienced a net gain of over $17 billion in income between 2015 and 2016… In this same time period, New Jersey experienced a loss of approximately $3 billion.”
“The research firm Wealth X reported New Jersey lost 5,700 people with liquid assets between $1 million-$30 million in 2018 – and that’s before the implications of the state and local tax (SALT) cap on federal taxes have truly been felt.”
“The Bank of America also references a February TheHill.com article citing U.S. Census data that states growing in population are usually ‘the same states with lower tax and regulatory burdens, lower government debt and greater transparency and accountability for government spending.’”
“Ironically, New Jersey is turning being home to a relatively high number of ‘millionaires’ into a strategic vulnerability. The top 2 percent of all N.J. income tax filers (who make more than $500,000 per year) account for over 40 percent of all income tax revenue to the state. Since close to 40 percent of state revenues are from personal income taxes, that means more than a third of all state revenues come from the top 1 percent of residents. Increasing dependence on revenue from this group exacerbates our vulnerability. An individual loss in this income category reverberates throughout the state.”
“Now we’re at New Jersey’s ‘Fork in the Road.’ An example of one alternate path is just up I-95 in Massachusetts, where the highest marginal personal income tax rate is just 5 percent, compared to New Jersey where the rate is 10.75 percent (third-highest in the nation). Our second highest in the nation corporate income tax rate of 11.5 percent will inevitably lead to market share loss to not just Massachusetts’ 8 percent rate but other attractive states like North Carolina’s 2.5 percent rate, which helped to lure Honeywell from New Jersey.”
“Massachusetts solidly outflanks the Garden State when it comes to property taxes ($37 versus $51 per $1,000 of personal income) as well as the size of public workforces: theirs is 8 percent smaller than New Jersey. And Massachusetts, whose annual K-12 education performance closely rivals New Jersey’s, spends nearly 20 percent less on a per pupil basis.”
To read Regina Egea’s entire op-ed, click the link below:
For more information on the Garden State Initiative, explore their website: