A tale of two reviews of slumping revenue from GSI, NJPP

We don’t expect Garden State Initiative and New Jersey Policy Perspective to agree on much. On Friday, they did.

Both were alarmed by the revenue numbers released by the state, which showed personal income tax revenue was down 14.6% for the same month a year ago — and only a massive Corporate Business Tax settlement charge ($195 million) lifted the state’s overall revenue number up 2.2% over last year.

Their responses, however, differed.

GSI President Regina Egea, who also cited the state’s higher-than-the-national-average unemployment rate of 4.6%, said it’s time to admit things aren’t working.

“It’s time for the governor and state Legislature to stop trying to convince state taxpayers that ‘everything is fine’ when they know it’s not,” she said.

“ ‘Facts are Stubborn Things,’ as John Adams famously noted. Using creative math might make the results sound less ominous, but avoiding reality is a recipe for failure for everyone in our state.”

NJPP Senior Policy Analyst Peter Chen said the only thing to do is raise taxes, a familiar refrain for sure.

“The latest Treasury report shows exactly what budget experts have warned: The state will need more revenue to balance its books and pay for the public investments that keep our communities running,” he said. “Lower-than-expected tax collections are always a concern, but this latest trend is even more alarming, since the current budget was already set to spend more money than the state would collect.

“One common-sense way for lawmakers to plug this budget hole would be extending the Corporate Business Tax surcharge on companies with over $1 million in annual profits.”

Egea said the numbers seemingly show a tough year ahead.

“Absent corrective action, New Jersey taxpayers and business owners are in for a rough 2024,” she said.