Why not? The tax is a scam based on a lie.
It was passed on the promise of property tax relief... and then the Courts, that failsafe of the political and corporate establishment, got in on the action to redirect (steal) most of the money paid by suburban and rural taxpayers to urban political machines so that they can give generous tax breaks to their corporate co-conspirators. Of course, they gave the poor as their reason for doing so and forty years later... New Jersey is facing a poverty explosion with the highest poverty levels in 50 years.
So it wasn't done for the poor because the poor are still poor and there are more of them than ever before, but there are lots and lots of politicians who got very fat and very rich off the income tax scam and lots and lots of corporations that got millions in tax breaks because of it. Why should suburban and rural taxpayers subsidize rich corporations and make corrupt political machines more powerful?
After 40 years, maybe suburban and rural taxpayers are tired of the scam, built on a lie?
After 40 years, maybe the urban poor are tired of having their hunger-wracked bodies used as a means to make the rich richer and the corrupt more powerful?
Maybe it is time for some truly revolutionary action like abolishing the state income tax?
Professor Murray Sabrin thinks so. Here is his opinion column from today's Bergen Record/ NorthJersey.com:
JANUARY 27, 2016 LAST UPDATED: WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 27, 2016, 1:21 AM
BY MURRAY SABRIN
NEW JERSEY'S motto, "Liberty and Prosperity," was adopted in 1777, a year after the colonists declared their independence. Although the state motto implies that New Jersey would be a free and independent state, the truth of the matter is that New Jersey's state government has adopted an anti-liberty agenda for decades.
In a free society, which is based upon a market economy, all participants make voluntary choices in order to improve their lives. I call this a Mutual Consent Society, where no one is coerced to buy or sell any good or service against their will. Isn't this the "American" way? The freedom to choose?
In other words, involuntary exchanges — theft, robbery, murder, etc. — which Frederick Bastiat identified as "illegal plunder" in his 1850 monograph, "The Law," are prohibited in a civilized society, because these acts violate the natural (property) rights of every individual in society.
Conversely, Bastiat then concluded that governments must not engage in "legal plunder," for the same reason individuals cannot engage in illegal plunder. They are acts of aggression and coercion. Bastiat identified legal plunder — progressive taxation and public schools, among other government polices — as detrimental to a harmonious society.
For Bastiat, the law (force) should not be used to force people how to live their lives and spend their money. Using the law to coerce people, argues Bastiat, negates the principle of justice and violates the rights of individuals.
Although most people across the political spectrum consider "public education" an indispensable institution in a democracy, the truth of the matter is that education has become a political football. Instead of providing students with the skills necessary to become independent thinkers, our public schools have become indoctrination centers.
In place of having a curriculum that focuses on basic skills, yes, the three Rs, K-12 public education has morphed into a cheering gallery for anti-free-enterprise propaganda, extolling the virtues of activist government policies to solve social problems.
An income tax, whether it is progressive (tax rate increasing as incomes increase) or flat (one rate on all incomes, usually with a substantial standard deduction, making a flat tax somewhat progressive in reality), is a classic example of legal plunder, because it is a gross violation of private property.
In the 20th century, a stinging critique of progressive taxation by Frank Chodorov, "The Income Tax: Root of All Evil," was published. He argues that the so-called ability-to-pay doctrine is a pernicious assault on private property and undermines the productivity of the economy. Chodorov shows that the income tax, ironically, hurts poor people more than wealthy income earners, because taxation in general and the income tax specifically reduces the amount of capital in society and therefore job creation.
As far as New Jersey's 40-year income tax is concerned, it began in 1976 with only two rates, 2 percent and 2.5 percent, and was enacted to provide property tax relief and increase school aid. As the U.S. economy was on an upswing from the depths of the 1973 — 1975 recession, tax revenue flowed to Trenton, making Gov. Brendan Byrne's promise a reality.
Over the years, New Jersey's income tax has become more progressive. Currently, incomes less than $20,000 are taxed at 1.4 percent and incomes greater than $500,000 are taxed at 8.97 percent, a far cry from the relatively flat tax that was imposed in 1976.
The income tax was supposed to provide tax relief for all taxpayers but instead has turned into a massive redistribution of income from suburban taxpayers to urban school districts, courtesy of a series of state Supreme Court decisions calling for more state aid to provide a constitutionally mandated "thorough and efficient education" to all public school children.
Eliminate school funding
The reforms needed to create a Mutual Consent Society in New Jersey is clear: Abolish the state income tax and eliminate taxpayer funding for K–12 education and pre-K, so education decisions can be made by parents and provided by competent teachers instead of career bureaucrats in Washington and Trenton.
In addition, abolishing the income tax would provide the fuel for a more robust economy, the best anti-poverty program there is.
The wisdom of both Bastiat and Chodorov is more relevant today given the widespread legal plunder that exists in New Jersey and throughout the country. If the people of New Jersey want to live up to the state's motto, "liberty and prosperity," we must abolish the state income tax and return education decisions to parents and teachers.
Murray Sabrin is a professor of finance at Ramapo College.