A Child Looks at New Jersey’s Millionaire’s Tax



Dear Governor Codey,

            I read in the newspaper about New Jersey’s new Millionaire’s Tax and I’m kinda confused. If you’re not too busy telling us all what to do, could you explain it to me?

            I don’t understand why you call it a millionaire’s tax if people who earn over $500,000 have to pay it. I always thought that a million was twice as much as a half-million. Does this mean that your $28 billion budget is really only $14 billion? This must be that New Math that used to drive my Dad crazy when he was a kid in public school. I asked my math teacher to explain it and he said it wasn’t correct math, but it was good math because it will lower property taxes and then people will be less mad about how much money he’s paid.

            Did the people who earn this much money do something bad? If they got it by cheating or stealing we should arrest them. But if they earned it honestly, why do they get an extra penalty for doing their job well? When I get an “A” on a test, my Mom gives me ice cream and lets me stay up a half-hour later to watch Teen Nick. If she punished me instead, I’d sure stop working hard to get good grades.

            My Dad said that when we first got the state income tax in the 1970’s, the top tax rate was 2.5%. The man who was Governor back then said this would fix the problem of high property taxes. He was wrong and the top rate kept going up until it was 7% by the late 1980’s. Every governor said that raising the top rate would solve the problem of high property taxes. Now the top rate is 9% and this is supposed to solve the problem.  If you know something that all of our other Governors didn’t know, could you tell me what it is? If it’s a secret, I promise not to tell.

            I learned in social studies that Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming don’t have a state income tax. That must make their millionaires happy. And their half-millionaires. And anybody else who has an income. That must be why my Grandma and Grandpa moved to Florida and smile a lot more than they used to. My teacher said that it costs New Jersey money to collect the income taxes and then it costs them more money to send the tax money back to us as something called a rebate. It sounds like we have less money than we started with under this plan and don’t get anything in return for the money we lost.

            I hope the millionaire money gets to my school real soon. Then maybe I’ll get smarter and won’t be confused when I read the newspaper. Until then, is it OK if I send you more letters about the other things you’re doing that I don’t understand?

Your pal,

Jimmy Tosone

10 years old