Norquist knocks Christie’s budget for tax hikes

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist on Tuesday came out strongly against New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s proposed budget, saying it increases taxes for residents.

“I write today in opposition to two budget recommendations that would raise taxes on New Jersey residents by a projected $63 million annually,” Norquist wrote in a letter to state lawmakers.

In a post on the organization’s website titled, “ATR Opposes Governor Christie’s Proposed Tax Hikes on Small Businesses and E-Cigarettes,” staffer Paul Blair wrote: “New Jersey Governor Chris Christie recently presented his budget recommendations to the legislature for the next fiscal year. Though the proposal holds the line on most significant taxes, it does contain a number of tax law changes that would result in higher taxes on small businesses and consumers.”

Norquist said convenience stores will be hit hard by the new tax on e-cigarettes.

“The first misguided budget recommendation is to tax vapor products like e-cigarettes and e-liquid on the same basis as traditional cigarettes, which are currently taxed at $2.70 per pack,” he wrote. “Small businesses like convenience stores and especially brick and mortar vape shops will be hardest hit by this $35 million tax increase.”

Added Norquist: “This is particularly troubling in a time of tepid economic growth and in light of the 20 new and higher federal taxes that have been imposed by Congress in the last few years.”

Norquist also came out against the estimated $28 million in new taxes on purchases made by New Jersey residents through out-of-state online retailers.

“Making small businesses the tax collector for the state will burden them with compliance requirements that will ultimately increase costs for New Jersey consumers,” he said.

“Neither proposal is about tax law fairness; they are clearly cash grabs aimed at raising tens of millions of dollars,” Norquist said. “It makes little sense to further increase the burden of the state government on consumers and small businesses living in a state with one of the worst tax climates in the country.”

A Christie spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment on ATR’s opposition.

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