Addressing the Rising Cost of Living in New Jersey

Tax rates and the cost of living may just be two of the biggest issues in New Jersey. State lawmakers have different perspectives on the issue. Republican Assembly Minority Leader John DiMaio pointed out the effect of those high costs on families, including his own constituents.

DiMaio said, “I see people all the time in my district – they say, ‘you know what? My kids are grown, they’ve either moved out of state or to other areas –  the parents say ‘why should I stay here anymore, I can live a better quality of life, somewhere in the mid Atlantic or the south [like] North Carolina, South Carolina, wherever, and have have more money leftover in my in my pocket from my retirement to live better?’”

DiMaio noted that he’s seen it particularly among retirees, lamenting the ripple effects that it has. “We’re losing a lot of those retirees [to other states],” DiMaio said. “And then they fill that house with a family again with more kids, and [that] puts more burden on the school system.”

On the Democratic side, Senate President Nick Scutari touts the tax reforms being made with the goal of lowering costs.“Well, the number one issue that we’ve been tackling all year is affordability and taxes,” Scutari said. “The state legislature has been doing everything within its power to lower or subsidize people’s taxes, particularly property taxes.” The largest of those recent reforms is the property tax relief program, which is expected to cost $2 billion. Relief checks from the program will be mailed out in the coming weeks.

“We’re hopeful that this is a permanent program,” Scutari said. “Certainly we know that we have the appropriate amount of funding to run it for the next few years.”Scutari also pointed out other initiatives the legislature has recently made.“We eliminated the sales tax for 10 days in the summer for a back to school program, [and] we’re reinstituting the Energy Receipts Taxation Diversion Program, which will give more monies to municipalities to lower their tax rate,” Scutari said.

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