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Kyrillos: Incentives bill 'should be the bridge to comprehensive tax reform'

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Joe Kyrillos hopes the Economic Opportunity Act encourages a bipartisan effort to reform the state’s tax structure, which he says is noncompetitive.
Joe Kyrillos hopes the Economic Opportunity Act encourages a bipartisan effort to reform the state’s tax structure, which he says is noncompetitive. - (Mary Iuvone / For NJBIZ)

State Sen. Joe Kyrillos (R-Middletown) said now is not the time for legislators in Trenton to hang their hats on the passage and signing of the Economic Opportunity Act.

With Gov. Chris Christie having signed the incentives bill into law Wednesday afternoon, Kyrillos said he hopes Republicans and Democrats will now find common ground to address New Jersey's tax structure, which he said is noncompetitive.

"We compromised to create more opportunities for New Jersey families," Kyrillos, one of the bill's sponsors, said in a statement released after the bill signing. "This should be the bridge to comprehensive tax reform that New Jerseyans have been waiting on for far too long."

His statement also referred to remarks that Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Union) made on the Senate floor last week related to the high cost of doing business.

"With more Democrats now realizing the issue, the chances that this Legislature will finally fix this state's noncompetitive tax structure are much better," Kyrillos said.

But Lesniak says to him, it sounds like Kyrillos "is throwing down a lot of hot air for political purposes right around election time."

If a real discussion on tax reform were to take place, Lesniak said he'd start right off with enacting a millionaire's tax — an income tax surcharge paid by the state's wealthiest residents — that Kyrillos has previously opposed.

"I believe in fair comprehensive tax reform across the board," Lesniak said.

Andrew George

Andrew George

Andrew George covers the Statehouse from NJBIZ's Trenton bureau. Born and raised in N.J., Andrew has also spent time as a reporter in D.C., Texas and Pa. His email is andrewg@njbiz.com and he is @AndrGeorge on Twitter.

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