The Campaign Spot

How Does Jon Corzine Justify a Second Term? Demand a Do-Over?

It’s pretty fascinating to watch this ad for Jon Corzine’s campaign for governor from four years ago:

Narrator: “Jon Corzine believes in tax cuts for the middle class. That’s what he’s fought for in the Senate, voting to end the marriage penalty, to raise the child credit, to lower the tax burden on working families. Now in his campaign for governor, he’s proposed a 40 percent increase in property tax rebates. Tax relief for the middle class: that’s the Corzine plan. Jon Corzine for Governor.”

And then to contrast it with this report from the nonpartisan Tax Foundation:

In 2009, New Jersey taxpayers had to work until April 29 to pay their total tax bill, ranking them 2nd highest in the nation. This is 16 days later than national Tax Freedom Day (April 13).

Estimated at 11.8% of income, New Jersey’s state/local tax burden percentage is the highest in the country, well above the national average of 9.7%. New Jersey taxpayers pay $6,610 per capita in state and local taxes.

Note that the year Corzine was elected, New Jersey’s state/local tax burden was the third-highest in the country; his first year in office, the Garden State jumped to first, and it has stayed there since.

New Jersey ranks 50th in the Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index. The Index compares the states in five areas of taxation that impact business: corporate taxes; individual income taxes; sales taxes; unemployment insurance taxes; and taxes on property, including residential and commercial property.

New Jersey’s personal income tax system consists of six brackets and a top rate of 8.97% kicking in at an income level of $500,000. Among states levying personal income taxes, New Jersey’s top rate ranks 7th highest nationally.

Among states levying corporate income taxes, New Jersey’s top tax rate ranks 6th highest nationally. In 2007, state-level corporate tax collections (excluding local taxes) were $332 per capita, ranking the state 4th highest nationally.

New Jersey levies a 7% general sales or use tax on consumers, which is well above the national median of 5.5% . . . New Jersey’s cigarette tax stands at $2.575 per pack of twenty, which is the second-highest cigarette tax in the nation.

New Jersey is one of the 37 states that collect property taxes at both the state and local levels. As in most states, local governments collect far more. New Jersey’s localities collected $2,372.03 per capita in property taxes in fiscal year 2006, which is the latest year the Census Bureau published state-by-state property tax collections. At the state level, New Jersey collected $0.40 in property taxes during FY 2006, making its combined state/local property taxes $2,372.43 per capita, New Jersey’s combined per capita collections were the highest in the nation.

Oh, and those property-tax rebates that were the centerpiece of this “I’m a tax cutter” ad four years ago? Corzine canceled them this year for everyone except senior citizens and the disabled.

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