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Burn the Boats

A grocery bill in the billions

By June 13. 2012 8:45AM

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In their immediate reaction to the governor’s plan to cut 10 percent from the income tax, Assembly Democrats said it was a huge gift to millionaires, and basically a week’s worth of groceries for middle-class families.

Want to know what it’ll cost to buy all those families their bag of groceries? It could be more than $2 billion a year, according to a report in The Record. That’s because the cut will be phased in over several years, like other tax cuts enacted in the past few years. When you put that into the growing hole from missed revenue projections, which gets deeper every month, you’re pretty much halfway to China. Or the poorhouse.

I’m thrilled that the attitude in Trenton is that we need to tax our residents and our businesses less. I’m alarmed that there seems to be no consideration of what tax cuts right now might mean for our near and long-term future, particularly as the Jersey Comeback shows all the momentum of a conga line at an assisted-living facility. And while Chris Christie deserves his share of the blame, the Legislature is just a lamb rushing to the slaughter, to demonstrate how eagerly it, too, wants to cut taxes. The Assembly’s idea of using a millionaire’s tax to pay for the cut seems like a good idea, until you consider the impact it will probably have on the state economy, as the Tax Foundation warned Tuesday.

I imagine we’ll see some kind of tax cut deal make its way into the budget, and I’m sure it’ll be the white horse Christie rides as he continues to build his national brand. Let’s hope that, by the time he’s in the White House, this hasn’t done too much to handcuff New Jersey’s ability to stage a recovery.

I’m even more irreverent on Twitter @joe_arney.


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