Open Letter to Gov. Chris Christie & the NJ Assembly about the Estate Tax

We are among the wealthiest New Jerseyans. We value the quality of life in our state. We believe New Jersey should have top-notch public schools and universities, well-funded public services, hospitals, parks, and public transportation, all paid for through a progressive federal, state and local tax structure.

We agree that New Jersey’s transportation infrastructure is in dire need of improvement, long overdue for adequate funding, so we applaud our elected officials’ intention to replenish the state’s Transportation Trust Fund. These infrastructure improvements benefit all of our citizens, but especially those at the lowest economic rungs who stand to pay less in transportation costs and car repairs. But this new revenue should not be paired with tax cuts for the wealthy.

At current levels, each signatory below would pay the estate tax in New Jersey. As citizens who are among the wealthiest 5% of residents in our beloved state, we have both the means and the responsibilityto contribute more to the needs of our state. We strongly object to the proposal to eliminate New Jersey’s estate tax on people like ourselves as part of the transportation bill.

The estate tax is not only an important source of revenue, but is also our only tax on accumulated fortunes, the bulk of which have never been subject to capital gains taxation. It would be a travesty to give a tax break to a small cohort of wealthy families (including ourselves) at the expense of adequately funding schools, health care, public infrastructure and other pressing needs in the state.

Eliminating New Jersey’s estate tax after 100 years would be a short-sighted mistake. We urge Governor Christie and the legislature to REMOVE this provision from the Transportation Trust Fund bill (S-2411; A-12). A more responsible plan would be to raise the exemption level to $2 million per person, which would exempt 78% of current estates but preserve 72% of the roughly $300 million in annual revenue from the estate tax. 

Signed,

Diane Abel, Bloomfield • Elizabeth Bates, Princeton • Ira Belsky, Franklin Lakes • Theodore Chase, Jr., Princeton • Jun Choi, Edison • William Corwin, Princeton • Elizabeth Counselman, Princeton • David Drukaroff, Lakewood • Wilma Emmerich, Princeton • Grover Furr, Bloomfield • Eliane Geren, Princeton • Elizabeth Gibson, Princeton • Steve Gold, Caldwell  Carol Golden, Princeton • Ed Gracely, Sicklerville • Brian Greenberg, Shrewsbury • Lonnie Hanauer, West Orange • Stephanie Harris, Hopewell • Joann Held, Pennington • Fred Hillmann, Union • Matthew House, North Brunswick • Jeffrey Keefe, Lakewood • Pat Kenschaft and Frederick Chichester, Upper Montclair • Shelley Krause, Princeton • James Litvack, Princeton • Carleton Montgomery, Medford • Diane Riley, Madison • Beth and Andrew Rothman, Princeton • Eric Schoenberg, Franklin Lakes • Jane Silverman, Princeton • Robert Steinbaum, Montclair • Kevin Walker, Collingswood • Karl Walko, Audubon • Torry Watkins, Hightstown • David B. Wilson, Jersey City • Susan N. Wilson, Princeton • Francis Wood, Mendham

You can sign this letter by clicking here.

Boston

62 Summer Street
Boston, MA 02110
(617) 423-2148

Durham

904 Broad Street
Durham, NC 27705
(919) 724-5615

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