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Millionaire’s tax — NJ residents say yes, accountants say no

It’s no secret that a tax hike on New Jersey residents would mean an influx of new revenue for the state. But how much money could be headed out at the same time?

Joe Raedle, Getty Images

Most certified public accountants in the Garden State claim that an increased tax rate on the wealthiest New Jerseyans would be a bad move for the state.

Surprised by the findings of a recent Quinnipiac University poll, in which New Jersey voters overwhelmingly supported a higher tax rate on those earning more than $1 million if it were used to boost pension or education aid, the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants launched a survey of its own among society members.

More than 1,300 responses were received. When asked about raising taxes on New Jersey’s millionaires to help fund the state’s public employee pensions, 56.6 percent of respondents were opposed.

“They feel that another millionaire’s surcharge … will help stimulate outward migration, that people will leave,” NJCPA CEO Ralph Albert Thomas told New Jersey 101.5. “They also felt that it would impact small businesses.”

Seventy-two percent of CPAs said New Jersey needs to focus on shrinking government, not imposing more taxes.

“I think our members have a deeper appreciation for the unintended consequences that come about as a result of policy such as this,” Thomas said.

And it’s the state’s wealthiest residents who can most afford to simply pick up and leave, he added. Even crossing the bridge into Pennsylvania will lessen their tax burden but keep them close enough to the Garden State for any career or family obligations.

Democrats in the state Legislature attempted five times to hike the millionaire’s tax under Gov. Chris Christie’s watch. Each time, the governor has refused. The latest proposal in 2015 called for a 10.75 percent tax rate on income over $1 million, a move that was predicted to generate $675 million for the state.

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