In a nutshell, the Democrat-led Legislature and Democrat Governor are facing a $4.5 billion deficit and are locked in a stalemate over whether or not to increase the state sales tax from 6% to 7% to pay for this deficit, essentially holding the people of New Jersey hostage to their infighting. To date, over 45,000 state employees have been furloughed, while many others are working without pay.
To illustrate the disruption, the lockdown of one industry alone has resulted in a loss of approximately $1.3 million in tax revenue a day, dollars that are specifically earmarked for senior citizens and people with disabilities. Moreover, New Jersey enjoys a brisk tourism industry, and the closing of state parks and beaches will have an unknown but certainly adverse effect on the state's bottom line. To put it in perspective, tourism is Florida's largest industry-can you imagine the consequences should our state take such a financial hit?
A Tale of Two States:
Florida New Jersey
No Income Tax Up to 6.4% Income Tax
6% Sales Tax Raising Sales Tax rate to 7%
Hurricane Preparedness and NO Sales Tax Holidays
Back-to-School Tax Holidays
$6.4 Billion in RESERVES $4.5 Billion in DEFICIT
How can two states be so far apart in their economic health? The answer is simple: Governor Bush and Florida's Republican-led Legislature have embraced conservative fiscal management policies, worked to return tax dollars to the people, and focused on growing jobs and diversifying the economy. We have passed sales tax holidays to help families shop for back-to-school items and hurricane preparedness items. As Governor Bush has said, "When it comes to taxes, less is really more," so our Republican leadership has been able to cut $15 billion in taxes since 1999. During that time, state revenues have grown by 51%, the state has consistently been a leader in the number of new jobs created and, just as importantly, our financial reserves have increased by approximately 530%.
Ultimately, Florida and New Jersey couldn't be further apart, and the picture couldn't be clearer: Republican fiscal policies in Florida have been enormously successful, while big government, tax-and-spend Democrats have ground the state of New Jersey to a halt. The stakes are high and the choices are clear: continue sound Republican fiscal leadership or bring in New Jersey-style Democrat policies that lead to big government and higher taxes...while obviously failing to solve any critical problems.
Written by Carole Jean Jordan
Chairman, Republican Party of Florida