Sunday, May 14, 2006

Wealthy Fleeing New Jersey

From the Philadelphia Inquirer:
How far can N.J. push its richest?

"Real estate baron Alan Sagner may be one of New Jersey's most valuable endangered species."

"His accountant keeps a running tally of how much money he could save by retiring to another state. Many of his friends have already left, for climates both warm and tax-friendly."

"But this is one Jersey millionaire who is staying put, "millionaire's tax" and all."

""My life here is a more important investment for me than saving a few bucks," said Sagner, 85, who started selling homes in Livingston in 1947."

"Not every member of his tax bracket feels the same way."

"In the two years since then-Gov. Jim McGreevey slapped an 8.97 percent income tax on the 30,000 taxpayers who earn more than $500,000 a year, Haddonfield accountant Jim Evans has advised dozens of rich New Jerseyans poised to flee."

"The problem, State Treasurer Brad Abelow said, is that the state counts on this wealthy 1 percent of taxpayers to fund a whopping 42 percent of the state budget - up from 29 percent before the millionaire's tax."

"Some wealthy New Jerseyans have already been pushed to Pennsylvania, where they can pay the state's 3.07 percent flat income tax and keep their summer home at the Shore, said Reynold Cicalese, a Cherry Hill accountant."

"Other New Jerseyans move to Florida, which has no state income tax - and no estate tax, either. It's a long-standing tradition for New Jerseyans to move to Florida as they retire, but accountants such as Haddonfield's Smith say rich residents are now moving at earlier ages."

17 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there still anybody who believes that high taxes are the solution?

5/14/2006 08:19:00 AM  
Blogger Metroplexual said...

Nope. But taxes will be going up in the near future, at the local, state, and federal levels. But it will be aimed at the upper incomes due to all the cuts that have been passed. It is time to pay the piper. Deficits can't be sustained, and the attitude of passing it on to the next generation has got to stop.

5/14/2006 08:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only reason we need taxes is because a large chunk of society live off the lamb. A large chunk of people pay little or no taxes, (and never have) because they don't make enough money. Yet they still think they are entitled to this or that "benefit". Universal pre school, Abbott schools, unnecessary government jobs created to reward voting for the Dem, building arenas, universal health care, HUD picking up the tab for home downpayments --- but only if you are black or Hispanic! -- the list goes on and on.

Freeloading NJ citizens-- and the politicians who pander to them -- deserve the consequences of what happens if the wealthy start leaving

5/14/2006 09:35:00 AM  
Blogger Metroplexual said...

Letter to the editor in today's NY Times. It basically echoes what I have been saying on this blog.

To the Editor:

New Jersey's property tax conundrum ("School Budget Rumbles," editorial, May 7) has only one solution — a solution that no one appears willing or able to address. That is, the number of municipal governments must be cut by one half and the number of school districts by two thirds, all done through consolidation.

Downsizing is acceptable. Corporations do it all the time and the economy is still booming. Another option is the complete elimination of either county or municipal governments.

However, having personally been involved in efforts to merge police departments in two municipalities, I am concerned that there are so many vested interests, and so many fears that we will lose "home rule" (as if we had any in the first place), that it is impossible to make this happen short of state mandate.

The bottom line is, if you want all the services you demand, and you want "home rule," then you had better be prepared to pay for it.

Richard E. Van Deusen
Mendham
The writer was mayor of Passaic Township, 1989-90.

5/14/2006 11:47:00 AM  
Blogger PN said...

Property tax "reform" will continue this trend. The only way to lower property tax is to replace it with another source. "Tax the rich" will be the preferred solution.

5/14/2006 12:27:00 PM  
Anonymous UnRealtor said...

Soon when people buy a loaf of bread, the cashier will ask how much they earn, before deciding on a sale price.

5/14/2006 03:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


universal health care, HUD picking up the tab for home downpayments --- but only if you are black or Hispanic! -- the list goes on and on.


There is no universal health care in NJ , your comment about HUD is 1) largely incorrect
2) irrelevant to state taxes 3) what about the implicit subsidy via FNMA to other homeowners etc. ?

5/14/2006 09:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon 10:35

Universal pre school, Abbott schools, unnecessary government jobs created to reward voting for the Dem, building arenas, universal health care, HUD picking up the tab for home downpayments --- but only if you are black or Hispanic! -- the list goes on and on.

Freeloading NJ citizens-- and the politicians who pander to them -- deserve the consequences of what happens if the wealthy start leaving.


Good riddance! Don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out.

5/14/2006 09:38:00 PM  
Blogger Grim Ghost said...

Home rule is the proverbial third rail. Like it or not, I think most people, especially in small suburban towns, like home rule. I admit to liking it too myself. I like going to my friendly town hall building to deal with issues, and to my nice town library. I don't want to go to the county seat and I most emphatically don't want to have to deal with Trenton for a local matter. Besides, its far from clear that county governments (especially in places like Hudson County) or the state government is more efficient or less corrupt.

Also, I think the article is probably way overblown in that it holds largely only for people who are retired or earning most of their income from passive investments. Anyone who works in the state pays income tax here. People who work in NYC pay most of their income tax to NY so its NYs tax rate that is important, not PAs.

I fell into the maximum bracket last year, but since I pay most of my income tax to NYC, it had less impact than might otherwise by surmised.

Finally, high taxes might not be the solution, but neither necessarily are low taxes. PA has a 3% flat tax, has had one for over a decade, yet the state has been loosing its young people and its jobs for years. [ The City of Philadephia has been doing OK recently, but it has its own city taxes]

5/14/2006 10:22:00 PM  
Blogger Roadtripboy said...

Metroplexual, I think the point you raised (and it has been raised before in other threads on this blog) about consolidation of municipalities is a very good one. I just returned this evening from a 20 mile bike ride in the New Brunswick area. In order to get there from Jersey City, I drove me and my bike to East Millstone. On the way there and back it really struck me as to how many "towns", "cities", "Boroughs", "Villages", etc. that I passed through and I remember thinking that NJ is one BIG suburb. If each of these entities insists on having their own fire department, police force, school system, government, etc., then it's not a surprise why property taxes are so high in NJ. The reason? We're wasting a great deal of money on administration (just like our healthcare system, but that's another topic for another day).

Some of these municipalities look so sleepy that you can't tell me that they need to have their own separate police force--for what? To catch someone going 26 mph in a 25 mph zone? No disrespect intended toward anyone living in these communities but they can't possibly have so much going on that they need their own police force to tend to it. Ditto for the schools. Why couldn't just 2 or 3 towns (or villages, boroughs, whatevers) consolidate into one? School administrations are bloated as it is. Even if only 2 adjacent communities combined services, that would save the NJ taxpayer a great deal of money, it seems to me. There's a lot of "reinventing the wheel" going on.

I'm also coming back to a reality that many of us who live in NJ work in NYC and this results in a loss of revenue to the state of NJ. Personally, I would rather my state taxes go to NJ rather than NY since I feel that I consume more resources/services here than in NYC.

5/14/2006 11:26:00 PM  
Blogger Roadtripboy said...

Correction to previous post: I meant to say "even if only every 2 adjacent communities combined forces"

5/14/2006 11:29:00 PM  
Anonymous UnRealtor said...

"I just returned this evening from a 20 mile bike ride in the New Brunswick area. In order to get there from Jersey City..."


Wow, that's one heck of a ride!

That's fairly long trip by car!

5/15/2006 12:00:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAAA!

The rich (that is, the non-inherited rich) didn't get that way by being stupid. When the situation changes, you adapt.

I only hope every rich person resets their official taxable address somewhere in lowtaxland, and just keeps 'pied-a-terres' in hightaxland.

Yay federalism!

5/15/2006 10:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I only hope every rich person resets their official taxable address somewhere in lowtaxland, and just keeps 'pied-a-terres' in hightaxland.


Good, so you wouldn't mind paying extra taxes to make up for what you hope for !!

[ if you work in a state, you almost always have to pay taxes in that state]

5/15/2006 10:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who says you worked there? Just keep the pad for your occasional 'visits' to friends and family in the neighborhood.

5/15/2006 11:03:00 AM  
Blogger Metroplexual said...

BTW, Tom Kean Jr. advocates eliminating counties in the state. Which would eliminate a layer of gov't but does not get rid of the redundancy of services. Imo the best waty to do that is to give those responsibilities to the county or state.

5/15/2006 02:48:00 PM  
Blogger Roadtripboy said...

Unrealtor, the area I rode my bike was between East Millstone and Rocky Hill, along the canal road. It is a beautiful ride! I saw several goose families, a swan family, a vulture, and listened to countless birds and other animals throughout the journey. Once you get to Rocky Hill, you can take the canal towpath through the woods to make a complete circuit. No cars and lots of fresh air. It's very peaceful and relaxing as well as good exercise. It only takes me 45 min to drive there from JC; the bike trip takes about 2 1/2 hours.

5/16/2006 12:06:00 AM  

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