The Tax of This and That

promoted by Rosi

Hoo-wee, what an eventful summer it has been so far for New Jersey politics. The in-party showdown while trying to reach an agreement for a budget was surely interesting to watch and read about. My biggest takeaway? There are some folks out there, in and out of the NJ State Politics realm, who will defend certain individuals and their bad ideas and poor conduct until the cows come home. (eye roll)

It was super interesting to read the varying determinations of what progressive policymaking really is while crafting the budget. Most interesting to me, was learning of all the new sorts of taxes New Jersey will employ in order to generate revenue. There’s the Uber and Lyft tax, the AirBNB tax, the vape tax, and perhaps later this year we will also see a tax on legal marijuana.

If these taxes help New Jersey ensure better access to quality education, and better fund essential things for society, I say please go ahead and tax these jawns (sorry, I’ve spent too many weekends in Philly lately).

However. I am very deliberate in reading op-eds from liberal AND conservative sources, and I can empathize with my conservative neighbors over the optics of the most recent budget. It does seem like the State will tax everything, especially after word got around about taxing water

Reading about a possible tax on water to specifically fund reconstructing our clean water infrastructure struck me. Why, I asked my sleepy self, does this need to be a process in which we wage internal-party-war on each other while trying to apply taxes to several different individual items, all in an effort to fund things that we all need to use…? It is a cycle likely to receive continual pushback, similar to the gas tax for specifically funding roads.

We can all agree that we are ticking closer and closer to the hour that New Jersey has several municipalities without clean water because the pipes are centuries old. We all know we are anxiously waiting for traffic hell when bridges decay beyond safe use. The same goes for school buildings throughout all zip codes, roads, transit systems, and we haven’t even talked about rising sea levels and hurricane season O.o

I am no economist, I am not an elected politician, but I do think about policy ALL OF THE TIME. There is resistance from the right and the left towards “socialist” ideals, but, what if we did move forward with thinking about a Social Tax. A flat rate, across-the-board tax that was used to fund roads, bridges, mass transit, schools, and water pipes, ya know, all the things conservatives and liberals use to go about regular life.

It might generate more revenue than all of these individual taxes combined, and, won’t specifically target certain industries (Although I will always be a fan of taxing tobacco, nicotine, and marijuana. Tax them jawns!). The optics, too, might be less volatile than taxing dozens of specific products. Maybe even just consider raising the sales tax? I don’t know… I’m just trying to think outside the box here, while we NEED the revenue, and while New Jersey won’t have such a progressive governor and moderate-dem legislature forever.

And, sorry, but with this taxing water usage idea… I highly doubt that would survive a judicial challenge.

P.S. Tax the super wealthy and stop selling sellable tax credits to multi-million dollar corporations 😀

Brian K Everett is a policy wonk who rarely contributes to the kerfuffle that is New Jersey politics. He’ll never be an insider, because he will say “no” to silly ideas. He hopes you enjoyed the South Jersey/Philly flare. Go Birds. 

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