Why homeowners should stay in N.J., despite the taxes. A millennial explains.
Updated 1:02 PM; Today 10:15 AM
By Star-Ledger Guest Columnist
By Jason DeAlessi
As a millennial who follows happenings in Trenton very closely, I am troubled by the NJ.com editorial,“This is why I’m leaving New Jersey.” The author writes that while he can afford to live in our state, he intends to leave for the “greener” pastures of Pennsylvania where the tax burden is not so heavy.
To the author, and those facing a similar dilemma, you are making a decision to leave based on somewhat selfish reasons, abandoning the very location responsible for your family’s success and well being.
Under Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration, New Jersey has begun ending longtime corporate welfare practices that favor those at the top. For anyone making more than $100,000 in retirement, do you not realize how fortunate you are being among the top in retirement income? Furthermore, do you not understand that your wealth has been accrued through the support of millions of your fellow New Jerseyans?
If you’re one of the lucky few who makes this much, you have very likely invested in the stock market and companies like United, Walmart, and Amazon (to name a few). Your retirement fortune has been built by the man who rings up your purchases, the woman who picks your items from warehouse shelves, and the man who directs you around the airport. Each of these individuals is, most likely, working for pay well below a living wage. More than likely, they have a second, maybe even third, job to make ends meet. And in many cases, they are not receiving health benefits or any type of retirement plan from their employer.
But year after year, the value of your stock portfolio, IRA, and 401K goes up – on the backs of your fellow hard-working New Jerseyans.
The tax for retirement income over $100,000 supports pre-kindergarten programs so parents can show up to work at Newark Airport. It supports health coverage for Walmart workers who don’t receive employer-sponsored plans because of Walmart’s greed. And it supports our top-rated education system, pre-kindergarten through university, which educates one of the most well-trained and productive workforces in the world.
Your local property taxes support police and emergency service programs so that when, and if, you need help, it is there. They also support educating your neighbors’ children, just like your neighbors and past retirees supported your children’s education. And they support your county budget, that subsidizes some of the finest community college programs in the nation for those who cannot afford or do not wish to attend four-year universities.
I’m sorry that by living in New Jersey you may have to cut a trip you had planned or some other luxury from your retirement budget. But I’m not sorry that you are paying your fair share to supports the workers who lack the opportunity and resources to achieve the financial stability that you have and, in many cases, will labor well into their seventies so they will not outlive their meager savings.
Jason DeAlessi has lived in Kinnelon with his parents for the past 17 years. He owns a digital marketing company, and pays half of the $20,000 annual tax bill on the home. DeAlessi is also a member of the Kinnelon Board of Education. His opinions are his own and do not represent those of the school board.
Just find it scary that he sits on the Board of Ed living at home with the parents for the past 17 years.