Governor Phil Murphy can visit the beach whenever he likes from his home in Middletown without requiring accommodations. Obviously Jersey Shore property and business owners are not large Democratic campaign donors. Why then should Murphy focus only on residents leaving New Jersey when he can ensure tourists stop from coming too?
A recent study showed that New Jersey is the #1 state that people leave. Another study showed that New Jersey is #1 in the rate of foreclosures in the U.S. I can only imagine Murphy sitting at his desk wondering what other list he can put us on top of. “I know” I imagine Murphy saying to himself “#1 in declining beach resorts along New Jersey’s 130 mile coastline!”
Beginning Monday short-term rentals in the State of New Jersey must charge a 6.625% state sales tax and a 5% occupancy fee to their renters. This will add hundreds of dollars to the cost of a week at the Jersey Shore and is expected to raise millions in tax revenues. In 2017 former Governor Christie vetoed a similar bill.
Hotel and motel owners along the shore must be large Democratic campaign donors since they are excluded from the legislation. Real Estate Agents must also be large Democratic campaign donors since rentals handled by Agents are exempt from the tax. Some shore property owners have rented to the same visitors year after year for many years dealing with them directly. Now they must charge those renters a total of 11.62% in new taxes (in addition to the taxes some municipalities charge) or pay a Real Estate Agent.
These new taxes have the potential of an impact that goes beyond actual rental properties as significant taxes mean that visitors will spend less in shore towns. This will hurt shore businesses like restaurants, retail stores and boardwalk attractions.
A group of Jersey Shore property owners are working to change the law and exempt shore counties from the tax. The NJ Shore Rentals Coalition is working with Assemblyman John McKeon who introduced Assembly Bill A-4520 that excludes transient accommodations in shore counties from various State and local taxes. The bill is co-sponsored by 17 additional Assembly members but has yet to move out of committee.
Why is Murphy trying to drive residents and now tourists from New Jersey while welcoming illegal immigrants with open arms? While Murphy should be focused on bringing revenue and jobs into the state by increasing tourism he is putting an additional financial burden on those who want to visit and businesses along the Jersey Shore. Murphy should also be focused on making New Jersey safer and more affordable for residents and creating jobs in the state. Instead the Governor is focused on higher taxes, making New Jersey a sanctuary state (thankfully ICE continues to protect New Jerseyans), funding the legal defense of illegal immigrants facing detention or deportation, driver licenses for illegal immigrants (including Real ID compliant driver licenses allowing the recipient to board an airplane), legalized marijuana, a $15 minimum wage (which we know will kill businesses and jobs in the state), defying the Trump Administration, ineffective gun control measures (that did not save the life John Bertram killed while working an overnight shift at an Edison gas station in December), pushing Obamacare (failed legislation that has been ruled unconstitutional by a Federal Court), a health insurance mandate (because the Governor apparently thinks he’s more powerful than Congress), criminal justice reform, restoring voting rights for those on probation or parole, redistricting, subsidizing the horse racing industry and spending his time outside of New Jersey leading the Democratic Governor’s Association (OK – maybe this one is a positive. Any day Murphy spends not focused on destroying New Jersey is a good day).
Murphy is wrong for New Jersey and does not understand the needs of New Jerseyans. Now more than ever the New Jersey legislature needs to be balanced with strong Republicans who will oppose Murphy and put the priorities of tax paying New Jerseyans first. Murphy as Governor and an almost one party Democratic rule is not working for New Jersey.
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