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Poll: N.J. voters against further taxes on middle class but support 'millionaires tax'

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The 'millionaires tax' has been previously vetoed by Gov. Chris Christie but is now being circulated again by some state Democrats.
The 'millionaires tax' has been previously vetoed by Gov. Chris Christie but is now being circulated again by some state Democrats. - (Aaron Houston / NJBIZ)

A new Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind Poll released Monday shows that while the majority of New Jersey voters want to avoid increased taxes on the middle and lower classes, there is support for a so-called “millionaires tax,” a surcharge on the state's wealthiest.

The tax has been previously vetoed by Gov. Chris Christie but is now being circulated again by some state Democrats.

According to the poll, 72 percent said they disapprove of a plan to raise the state's gas tax in order to pay for improvements to roads and bridges. Another 71 percent said they'd also vote down a proposal to increase taxes on water consumption in order to fund open space preservation practices.

"When combined, these findings offer clear support for avoiding middle and lower class tax hikes," poll director and FDU professor Krista Jenkins said. "Making gas tank fills more costly than they already are and driving up costs for water use are added fees that most in the state are unwilling to tolerate."

Previous polls conducted in 2006 and 2010 found that disapproval of raising the gas tax has remained consistent. But without tax increases, revenue sources to fund state projects remain in question.

"State leaders may be given clear directives from voters, but public preferences leave revenue options more limited than leaders may want," Jenkins said.

As for the tax on millionaires, an overwhelming 63 percent of voters said they support it in hopes of making the tax code more equitable.

"Support for the so-called 'millionaire's tax' is unlikely to sit well with those familiar with the recent report on the flight of the super-rich out of the state to avoid high property and excise taxes," Jenkins said. "Raising the income tax rate on top income earners is likely to add to the concerns of those who feel as if the wealthy are already shouldering their fair share of revenue generating for the state."

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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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