New Appointments and Polling News

By Jeffrey Kaszerman, NJCPA – July 7, 2017
New Appointments and Polling News

Former Congressman Scott Garrett, who lost his seat in the November elections, was the only member of the New Jersey Congressional Delegation who sat on the House Committee on Financial Services. This is a key committee for CPAs and the business community. It has jurisdiction over issues pertaining to the economy, the banking system, housing, insurance, and securities and exchanges. Additionally, the committee has jurisidic­tion over monetary policy, international finance and international monetary organizations. It is also responsible for providing oversight for the Dodd– Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB).

Fortunately, Garrett’s successful opponent — Congressman Josh Gottheimer — was appointed to the committee, as was Congressman Tom MacArthur from south Jersey. Therefore, there are now two representatives from New Jersey who sit on the committee. This is good news for New Jersey CPAs. NJCPA representatives met with them in May at the AICPA Spring Council meeting in Washington, DC.

NJCPA Ramps Up Polling of Its Members on Public Policy Issues

As part of its efforts to raise the Soci­ety’s public policy profile and increase its impact on the legislative process, the NJCPA has ramped up its polling of Society members on public policy issues important to CPAs, businesses and individual taxpayers. The poll results are shared with lawmakers and the media. Please take the time to participate in these polls whenever you receive one, usually via email. They generally only take a few minutes to complete.

It’s important for decision makers to be aware of what the CPA profession is seeing and thinking because CPAs have an objective and trained birds-eye view of all the factors that contribute to New Jersey’s economic climate. CPAs are in the trenches, serving over one million Garden State businesses and individuals and have a pulse read of their concerns and day-to-day realities. CPAs have a unique perspective that no other profes­sion or group has. Below are summaries of the most recent NJCPA polls, which were cited in various media outlets and shared with lawmakers.

CPAs Oppose Raising Taxes on Millionaries to Fund Public Pensions

A March 2017 NJCPA poll revealed that more than 56 percent of the 1,374 respondents opposed raising taxes on New Jerseyans who make more than $1 million in annual income — often referred to as the “millionaires’ tax” — to fund the state’s public employee pensions. Just over 33 percent support the concept and nearly 10 percent were unsure.

Those who were opposed to the tax overwhelmingly (72 percent) cited the need for New Jersey state government to focus on shrinking government, not imposing more taxes, and already having the most highly taxed citizens in the nation (70 percent). Another concern was that the increase would prompt wealthy residents and businesses to leave New Jersey.

The survey was conducted in response to a Quinnipiac University poll fielded in early 2017 that said 70 percent of the 1,098 respondents would support the million­aires’ tax to help fund public employee pensions, but would not favor raising funds on all New Jerseyans to shore up the fund.

CPAs Shift Advice to Clients in the Wake of the Eliminations of the Estate Tax

In a December 2016 survey of NJCPA members, more than one-third of respon­dents indicated they will change their advice to clients following passage of legislation that will phase out New Jersey’s estate tax by 2018.

NJCPA members were asked: In light of the changes to New Jersey’s estate tax, will you continue to advise Garden State clients to relocate out of the state?

  • 28 percent said yes, New Jersey’s tax climate and cost of living still make relocation the best option for many clients. 
  • 36 percent said no, eliminating the estate tax is an important first step in making New Jersey more affordable. 
  • 36 percent aren’t sure. They believe there are still many unanswered questions, including whether or not the estate tax might be restored under a new administration. 

In a 2015 survey of NJCPA members, 74 percent of respondents indicated that they had “advised a client to consider relocation due to New Jersey’s estate and inheritance taxes.” While NJCPA’s newer survey shows that CPAs are now less likely to advise clients to relocate, many are concerned about whether the estate tax repeal will be restored under a new administration.

Jeffrey  Kaszerman

Jeffrey Kaszerman

Jeff Kaszerman is Government Relations Director for New Jersey Society of CPAs. He works with the CEO and board of directors to create and implement advocacy initiatives that protect and promote the interests of the CPA profession, the business community and the public.

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This article appeared in the July/August 2017 issue of New Jersey CPA magazine. Read the full issue.