GOP plans ‘one-time opportunity’ to cut NJ taxes

TRENTON — House Republicans want to cut income taxes as part of the new state budget, part of a four-pronged plan to address an unprecedented rise in state incomes and surpluses. ‘State.

Assembly Minority Leader John DiMaio, R-Warren, said tax brackets had not been adjusted for nearly a quarter of a century – and that given inflation rates and the state’s multi-billion surplus, the time had come.

“This is going to bring lasting, long-term relief to many, many New Jersey residents, especially those at the lower end of the spectrum,” DiMaio said.

Taxes would be reduced on incomes below $128,455 for a single taxpayer and $256,910 for a married couple. The savings would amount to $1,600 for a married couple earning $110,000 or $1,000 for a single taxpayer earning $70,000, DiMaio said.

The 1.75% tax bracket that currently starts at $20,000 of income for a single-filer taxpayer would be applied starting at $34,255, according to the proposal. The 3.5% rate would start at $59,946, instead of $35,000; the rate of 5.525% at $68,510, rather than $40,000; and the rate of 6.37% at $128,455, rather than $75,000.

For married couples filing jointly, all of these income thresholds are doubled. The plan also eliminates a 2.45% bracket that currently applies to married couples on their incomes between $50,000 and $70,000, described by critics as a marriage penalty in the tax code.

House Republicans say they want the budget to include the biggest possible rebates to residents to help them deal with inflation, restore aid to municipalities that is being diverted to the state and reverse School aid cuts planned for about a third of school districts.

“It’s probably a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that we’ve never seen of taking action to save people money rather than finding ways to spend their money,” DiMaio said.

The Legislative Assembly and the governor have about five weeks to agree on a state budget. Republicans remain the minority party in the Legislature despite gaining seats in recent election cycles.

Assemblyman Hal Wirths, R-Sussex, said while the state is to keep some of its surplus – projected to be around $10 billion – the rest must be returned to taxpayers. He said during budget hearings that Democratic lawmakers often asked cabinet members if they could use more money for staff.

“Being on the budget committee for a few years, I don’t trust them not to spend the money,” Wirths said. “If it’s sitting there, they spend it.”

Michael Symons is the Statehouse Bureau Chief for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]

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