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State Senators Sarlo and Oroho:
N.J.'s Estate Tax Repeal Must be Protected

2017 01 24 RTL Sarlo Oroho1 L

During an N.J. Chamber luncheon on Jan. 24, 2017, state Sens. Paul Sarlo and Steve Oroho predicted a challenging state budget process this year with hot button issues like public pension funding and school funding. For more photos, click here.

The recently adopted phase-out the New Jersey's estate tax will have to be vigorously defended by supporters, as it is slated to be phased out over the next two budget years, said Democratic Sen. Paul Sarlo and Republican Sen. Steve Oroho during a Jan. 24, 2017, luncheon in East Windsor hosted by the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce.

The message was clear: Future lawmakers will be tempted to reverse it.

"We have to get the word out that this tax cut is good for the economy and the people of New Jersey," said Sarlo, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. "We can't allow future administrations - Democrat or Republican - to send out rumors that this will be rolled back."

Oroho, who also sits on the Budget Committee and is a certified financial planner, said financial advisors are already telling their clients that the elimination of the estate tax will finally make it financially palatable to retire in New Jersey. "CPAs, financial planners, and attorneys - we need to be out there showing people that this (tax cut) is working," he said.

It was a rally call and a reminder that there is still work to be done, even after Gov. Chris Christie and the Legislature adopted the landmark legislation in September that reforms the tax codes and eliminates the estate tax. The legislation also solved a longtime challenge in New Jersey - it renewed the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) to the tune of $16 billion in road and mass transit upgrades over the next eight years.

New Jersey Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tom Bracken thanked Sarlo and Oroho for being "extremely courageous" in pushing this legislation and getting it passed.

The repeal of the estate tax has been long sought by the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce.

"For too long, New Jersey has been one of only two states in the nation with both an estate tax and an inheritance tax," Bracken said. "That double taxation is a reason why many executives leave New Jersey before they retire; and why they think twice before moving or expanding their companies here. The result has been a loss of income tax revenue and a loss of jobs for the people of New Jersey."

"This tax reform sends a clear signal that New Jersey is open for business," Bracken added.


State Budget

Sarlo and Oroho predicted a challenging state budget process this year. "I think it's going to be a difficult budget with Trenton dealing with pension issues, the school funding formula and affordable health care," Sarlo said. "Every seat in the Legislature is up (for reelection) and the governor's seat is up. There are going to be a lot of (school districts) asking for more money, especially in the suburbs."

In the meantime, Sarlo cautioned that "a straight-out repeal (of Obamacare) would have an economic impact on the state budget next year, and that the cost of charity care in hospitals would likely see a considerable jump. "I don't think anyone knows what will happen in Congress," he said.

Pension and school funding are structural issues that have to change, Oroho said. "School funding is the most complicated, arcane thing you will ever see," he said. "Knowing that we addressed the TTF, I hope it proves that we can address other structural issues."

For photos from the event, click here.