We've been hearing a lot of talk lately that New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney is not totally on board with the high-spending, tax happy policies of his fellow Democrat, Governor Phil Murphy.
Sweeney's making lots of noice about how we're pricing people out of New Jersey and how the state is simply becoming unaffordable.
But as you listen to Sweeney and read about the ongoing dustup (if that's what it really is) keep in mind a story that we ran right here in 2011 -- seven long years ago:
With United Van Line's annual study of state by state population shifts showing New Jersey tied with Illinois for the highest proportion of residents migrating out of state, Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean, Jr. today suggested a strong correlation between New Jersey's increased tax burden over the last decade and the loss of population to other states.
"I agree with the Senate President that the high cost of living in New Jersey is the driving force behind so many people leaving the state," said Kean (R- Union). "So it defies logic that the $8 billion in higher taxes imposed upon the people of this state by an unchecked Democratic legislature have had no impact on that cost of living."
According to 2010 census data, residents who moved out of New Jersey were most likely to end up in Pennsylvania. 20, 231 moved to New Jersey's western neighbor, putting it ahead of Florida's influx of 12, 503 New Jersey residents.
"It simply cannot be coincidence that we're losing a greater percentage of our population than any other state save for Illinois and simultaneously have the highest tax burden," Kean continued. "A huge share of the people leaving our state end up in Pennsylvania, where the top income tax rate is less than half of New Jersey's and corporate and property taxes are far lower, or Florida, with no income tax at all. This is a trend about which Republicans have been sounding the alarm for years."
Kean urged the Majority to work with Republicans to reverse the state's uncompetitive tax and spending climate.
"I'm glad that some in the Democratic leadership are now becoming concerned about the affordability crisis job creators and residents face in New Jersey," he said. "However, making our state competitive with our neighbors will require more than cleverly named half measures and rhetoric. I encourage the Majority to work with legislative Republicans and the Governor in this year's budget to break the state's addiction to spending so that we can reverse the massive tax hikes foisted upon New Jersey residents during the McGreevey and Corzine eras. In order to fix the problem, everyone needs to admit that the Democrats' economic agenda during the last decade took our state in the wrong direction."