Commissioned by the state Chamber of Commerce and conducted by a Boston College institute -- the Center for Wealth and Philanthropy -- that has endorsed a repeal of the estate tax, the study has found that rich folks are leaving the state and taking their money with them. The reason for this "exodus of wealth," according to "local experts and economists," was
a series of changes in the state’s tax structure — including increases in the income, sales, property and “millionaire” taxes.So who are these experts The Star-Ledger is quoting? Well, there is the Chamber, of course, and Jim Hughes, dean of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University, and a certified public accountant that offers some anecdotal evidence. Not exactly an exhaustive attempt to get past the what of the so-called wealth transfer to the why. The Chamber, as we know, has a political agenda (profit, profit and more profit), while our accountant friend offers a nice touch but not much in the way of real empirical evidence.
“This study makes it crystal clear that New Jersey’s tax policies are resulting in a significant decline in the state’s wealth,” said Dennis Bone, chairman of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce and president of Verizon New Jersey.
As for Hughes, he is an important researcher and academic, he also has a tendency to speak in a pro-business, pro-developer language that has always left me wondering how much of his analysis is tinged with a pro-corporate bias.
So, you'll have to excuse my skepticism when reading this report. I'm having trouble buying it.