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How much is $100 really worth in New Jersey?


A hundred bucks doesn’t buy you much in New Jersey, according to a recent study by the Tax Foundation.

In fact, it only buys you $87.64 worth of goods. That means, when you consider the prices of goods, housing and income taxes compared with consumers’ buying power, New Jersey rates fourth-worst among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, the study found.

Contrast that with Mississippi, where $100 will buy you $115.74 worth of goods, or Arkansas, where it would buy you $114.16 worth. They were the top two states for purchasing power, followed by Missouri and Alabama, tied for No. 3 at $113.51.

On the other hand, Washington, D.C., fared the worst, with $100 buying only $84.60 worth of goods. Hawaii was next-worst, at $85.32, and then came New York, at $86.66.

At least New Jersey trumped its northern neighbor, right?

Part of the reason New Jersey fared so poorly was its high tax rate. The Tax Foundation reported that New Jersey’s income tax rate of 8.97 percent was fifth-highest in the nation.


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Eric Strauss

Eric Strauss

Eric Strauss is the digital content editor for NJBIZ. He has been a reporter and editor for newspapers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, as well as for a number of websites. You can contact him at erics@njbiz.com or @acerimrat on Twitter.

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Richard Rider August 26, 2014 12:08 pm

One CRUCIAL factor is not included in this $100 comparison by state -- personal income tax. BLS and the Tax Foundation have no way to calculate that in the formula, because the tax differs dramatically depending on what level of income you have.

For instance, while 7 states have zero income tax, uber-progressive (well progressive EXCEPT about Uber) California has a personal income tax that's, well, uber progressive -- varying from NEGATIVE (cash credits) to 13.3% -- by FAR the highest in the nation -- impossible to calculate in the formula.

Also ignored as impossible to calculate are fees, fines, and other state and local "non-purchase" levies by government. Fee-crazy California again "excels" in this area.

Hence the hypothetical $100 is AFTER-tax dollars. Other taxes included in a purchase (sales, excise, etc) ARE included in the comparison, but income tax is not. The REAL total difference between the states is often significantly higher as a result, but not included in this study.

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