LETTER NJPP report ignores estate tax effect on local farmers and small business owners, says Bucco


Assemblyman Anthony M. Bucco responded to a Wednesday article by New Jersey Policy Perspective that was critical of eliminating the state’s estate tax, saying it helps the state’s economy.


“The estate tax does more than just drive wealthy taxpayers out of the state,” said Bucco (R-Morris).


Responding to a question from Bucco at a recent budget hearing, state Agriculture Secretary Douglas Fisher said reforming the estate and inheritance tax could help protect active farms. “So just like small business, and small and larger agriculture business, it’s critical,” Fisher responded.  “It’s of major consequence and would be extraordinarily helpful to the farming community.”


According to the Office of Legislative Services, $28 million in estate tax revenue comes from people with estates worth less than one-million dollars – over nine percent.  New Jersey Policy Perspective claims the tax is paid by just four percent of estates per year.  That number is based on the percentage of the state’s total population with average home values above the $675,000 threshold, not all of the estates subject to the tax.


“Reforming or eliminating the estate tax has bipartisan support,” said Bucco.  “When someone says that it only affects wealthy residents, I respectfully disagree.  They are ignoring a whole segment of our population.”


A recent Office of Legislative Services report found that there are three primary demographic groups displaying a net domestic outmigration from New Jersey: those younger than 45 years of age making less than $10,000; those younger than age 45 making between $10,000 and $25,000; and those older than 45 years of age making more than $200,000.


“The estate tax represents one of the most harmful taxes on New Jersey’s economy,” said Bucco. “Two million residents and $18 billion of income have moved out over the past decade, costing the state 75,000 jobs.


“Rather than focusing on the revenue the tax brings in on the backs of many small business owners and farmers, the group should be thinking about the far greater economic loss to the State and the revenue that goes with it,” continued Bucco. “The facts are more than credible, they are obvious.”