Tag: Jon Bramnick

Bramnick on ‘richest man’s’ departure: ‘How can you blame him?’

Source: Excerpt from the New York Times -

Our top-heavy economy has come to this: One man can move out of New Jersey and put the entire state budget at risk.

Other states are facing similar situations as a greater share of income — and tax revenue — becomes concentrated in the hands of a few.

Last month, during a routine review of New Jersey’s finances, one could sense the alarm. The state’s wealthiest resident had reportedly “shifted his personal and business domicile to another state,” Frank W. Haines III, New Jersey’s legislative budget and finance officer, told a state Senate committee. If the news were true, New Jersey would lose so much in tax revenue that “we may be facing an unusual degree of income tax forecast risk,” Haines said.

The New Jersey resident (unnamed by Haines) is hedge-fund billionaire David Tepper.

In December, Tepper declared himself a resident of Florida after living for more than 20 years in New Jersey. He later moved the official headquarters of his hedge fund, Appaloosa Management, to Miami. … Florida has no income tax.

New Jersey won’t say exactly how much Tepper paid in taxes. According to Institutional Investor’s Alpha, he earned more than $6 billion from 2012 to 2015. Tax experts say his move to Florida could cost New Jersey — which has a top tax rate of 8.97 percent — hundreds of millions of dollars in lost payments.

Jon Bramnick

“If you’re making hundreds of millions of dollars and you’re paying close to 10 percent to the state of New Jersey, you do the math,” said Jon Bramnick, the Republican leader in the New Jersey Assembly. “You can save millions a year by moving to Florida. How can you blame him?”

Beyond the debate on taxing the rich, Tepper’s move is a case study in how tax collections are affected when income becomes very highly concentrated. With the top tenth of 1 percent of the population reaping the largest income gains, states with the highest tax rates on the rich are growing increasingly dependent on a smaller group of superearners for tax revenue.

In New York, California, Connecticut, Maryland and New Jersey, the top 1 percent pay a third or more of total income taxes. Now a handful of billionaires or even a single individual like Tepper can have a noticeable impact on state revenues and budgets.

California had to account for a “Facebook effect” in 2012 and 2013 after that company’s 2012 initial public offering of stock. The offering generated more than $1 billion in revenue — much of that from the chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, and a small group of company shareholders.

Washington, D.C., had an unexpected $50 million gain in its fiscal 2012 — which helped create a budget surplus — after the death of a local billionaire increased its estate tax receipts.

Some academic research shows high taxes are chasing the rich to lower-tax states, and anecdotes of tax-fleeing billionaires abound. Other studies say there is little evidence showing the rich move solely for tax purposes. Millionaires and billionaires who move from the high-tax states in the Northeast to Florida, for instance, may be drawn by the sunshine, lifestyle and retirement culture, in addition to lower taxes.

Tepper regularly topped state wealth rankings as New Jersey’s richest resident. He also has homes in Miami Beach and the Hamptons. In 2012 and 2013, he also topped Alpha’s list of the highest-earning hedge fund managers, with estimated earnings of $2.2 billion in 2012 and $3.5 billion in 2013. His earnings fell to $400 million in 2014.

Tepper never publicly announced his move to Florida. It became public April 5, when Haines, citing a Bloomberg report, mentioned Tepper’s move in his remarks to the state Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. In discussing the move, Haines said, “Even a 1 percent forecasting error in the income tax estimate is worth $140 million.”

Tepper’s payments may have even been higher. If Tepper earned $3.5 billion in 2013, his state tax bill could have been more than $300 million, according to New Jersey accountants. Granted, his actual payments were probably far lower because of deferred income, charitable deductions and other accounting treatments. Yet Haines’ comments are believed to be the first time a state official has warned of a budget risk because of one resident’s relocation.


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Bramnick says there’s a crisis in A.C. and council members should accept proposed salary cuts

Source: Excerpt from NJ.com -

So much for that idea.

Atlantic City council President Marty Small said the council won’t consider a proposal for the mayor, council members and other city officials to take a 20 percent pay cut as state and local leaders grapple with how to save the Jersey Shore gambling resort from bankruptcy.

On Tuesday, Councilman Kaleem Shabazz said he would introduce the resolution to make that reduction to Mayor Don Guardian’s $103,000 salary and the $28,000 salaries of the city’s nine council members. Shabazz told the Associated Press the cuts would be largely symbolic, showing local leaders can make “some sacrifices ourselves” at a time when the city is close to running out of money and fighting a possible state takeover.

But Small said council members were “caught off guard” by the proposal and noted the cuts would do very little to help reduce the city’s $100 million budget deficit and more than $550 million debt.

Small said, he has never seen a salary increase since he joined the council in 2004, and that the last time council members got a raise was before 2000.

Jon Bramnick

State Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick on Wednesday called on the council to pass the proposal.

“They should cut their salaries,” Bramnick (R-Union) said in a statement. “In a time of fiscal crisis, top leaders need to take some responsibility before expecting state taxpayers to make sacrifices to help.”

Guardian’s office said Tuesday that the mayor’s salary was already reduced $40,000 from the $143,000 that his predecessor, Lorenzo Langford, made.

Atlantic City has been hit by the closure of four of its 12 casinos in recent years, causing its taxbase to be cut by more than 70 percent. The city is expected to run out of money within weeks, and experts say the credit ratings of municipalities across the state could fall if the city defaults on its debt or goes bankrupt.

Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, and state Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) say they will provide aid only if the state is allowed to take over large parts of the city government for five years. Christie and Sweeney say that’s needed because city leaders have shown they are unable to curtail lavish spending.

But local officials said the takeover goes too far, and Guardian has noted the city has cut $25 million in spending. While the state Senate has passed the takeover, state Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson) says he is against it and has introduced his own plan to give the city more time to fix its problems.

Sweeney and Prieto met last week to discuss a possible compromise, but so far none has materialized.

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Bramnick calls on AC Council to cut its salaries while facing bankruptcy

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Jon Bramnick

Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick commented on the Atlantic City Council’s decision not to consider a fellow councilman’s proposal for cutting salaries of top officials by 20 percent while facing bankruptcy.

“They should cut their salaries,” said Bramnick (R-Union). “In a time of fiscal crisis, top leaders need to take some responsibility before expecting state taxpayers to make sacrifices to help.”

An Atlantic City councilman said Tuesday he will introduce a resolution next week to make reductions to the mayor’s salary and the salaries of the city’s nine council members.

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Bramnick, Webber weigh in on possible TTF solutions

Source: PolitickerNJ -

A group of tax cuts could clear the legislature’s path for funding the Transportation Trust Fund if both Republicans and Democrats take the deal being put forward by Senator Paul Sarlo (D-36). Governor Christie has said he will only consider raising New Jersey’s gas tax to fund the Trust Fund if Democrats offer concessions on “tax fairness” but making cuts to the estate tax. Though Sarlo’s bill has some bipartisan support and a Republican co-sponsor in Steven Oroho (R-24), the plan is drawing fire from the left and the right.

As Sarlo outlined the details of his own estate tax phase-out and called for the $1.2 billion TTF’s funding cap to be raised this week, Assembly Speaker Vince Prieto (D-32) said that he would only consider posting a bill doing away with those levies if they came as part of an explicit plan to fund the TTF and offered Christie’s successor the ability to change the pace of the phase-out if economic growth remains stagnant. The TTF could face insolvency as soon as July.

Sarlo and Oroho’s bill joins other Democratic bills to raise the threshold for taxes on retirement income and allow additional tax deductions for charitable contributions.

Jon Bramnick

Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-21), who has expressed his willingness to negotiate for a gas tax in the past, invoked tax flight when he said the cuts would do too little if spread across Sarlo’s proposed five-year phase-out period.

“New Jersey cannot afford to wait to phase out the estate tax,” said Bramnick in a statement. “Every year we lose more retirees to tax friendly states.”

The Office of Legislative Services estimates that the phase out would cost the state $550 million a year. Bramnick argued the state could recoup that cost if residents choose to stay because of a more favorable tax structure.

“I suspect the state would do far better by more people staying in New Jersey because we made this change,” Bramnick continued. “That alone will help make up for the lost tax revenue.”

Jay Webber

Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-26) pointed to the cost of building and maintaining transportation infrastructure in New Jersey versus other, similarly populous states. Others like Senator Pete Doherty (R-23) have also argued that the solution to addressing aging roads and bridges lies more in cutting down costs than in raising the cap for the TTF.

“Under the NJDOT’s own numbers, New Jersey’s roads are the most expensive in the nation, an extreme outlier even among our neighboring states,” Webber said in a statement. “Any solution to the Transportation Trust Fund must include real and credible savings and efficiencies so that New Jersey’s taxpayers will know that their money is being spent wisely.”

Left-leaning advocacy groups New Jersey Policy Perspective and the New Jersey Sierra Club came down hard on the plan, with NJPP’s Gordon MacInnes saying there is “only one way to ensure ‘tax fairness’ in pushing forward a much-needed hike in fuel taxes to fund critical transportation investments: reduce taxes for the lowest-income New Jerseyans, who will feel the greatest impact of any gas tax increase.”

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Bramnick calls for vote to repeal “estate tax”

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Jon Bramnick

Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick called on Speaker Prieto to reconsider his decision this morning to hold a Senate bill phasing out New Jersey’s “estate tax.” New Jersey is one of just two states in the country to levy an estate tax and an inheritance tax.

“New Jersey cannot afford to wait to phase out the estate tax,” said Bramnick. “Every year we lose more retirees to tax friendly states.”

A report recently released by the New Jersey Business & Industry Association indicated that two-thirds of business owners surveyed said they do not plan to keep New Jersey as their home in retirement and a similar percentage said they take estate taxes into account when making business decisions.

“I suspect the state would do far better by more people staying in New Jersey because we made this change,” concluded Bramnick. “That alone will help make up for the lost tax revenue.”

According to the latest available IRS data, New Jersey has lost a net outflow of approximately $18 billion in adjusted gross income to other states over the last 10-year period. There has not been a single year in that time when New Jersey has gained taxable income, and the net losses are increasing.

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Bramnick: Rude TSA airport screeners must stop ‘barking’ at travelers

Source: NJ 101.5 -

A New Jersey lawmaker says security agents at Newark Liberty International Airport should undergo some “civility training” and stop “barking” at passengers.

Jon Bramnick

“Yesterday I visited Newark Airport to review the conditions at the security gate. Travelers must wait more than one hour and are treated poorly. This cannot stand. TSA must act immediately and we need to treat the traveling public with respect,” Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick, R-Union, aid Friday morning on his Facebook page.

This wasn’t the first time that Transportation Security Administration agents have gotten a rise out of Bramnick. Back in February he called for the TSA to train personnel on how to “be more respectful to passengers,” saying that the agents “are becoming more and more frustrated with their jobs” and “appear to bark at the travelers.”

“Since the tragedy of Sept. 11, travelers must be silent at all times and are afraid to raise any issue with the personnel that stand at the scanning machines. I am speaking for those who fear raising their voice and I will continue to raise this issue until all TSA agents treat travelers at Newark Airport with respect.”

Bramnick and other travelers should probably get used to it: hours-long lines and missed flights have become routine at Newark and other airports, and they’re about to get worse as the number of flights out of Newark takes off during the summer travel season.

The TSA was created as a result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. While the agency is supposed to be on the forefront of securing the nation’s airports and skies, it has faced enduring criticism of its ineffectiveness and invasive procedures.


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Bramnick Calls for Shorter Lines at Newark Airport

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick today called upon the U.S. Transportation Security Administration to immediately reduce the long security lines causing many travelers to miss their flights at Newark Liberty Airport.

Jon Bramnick

“Yesterday I visited Newark airport to review the conditions at the security gate,” said Bramnick (R-Union). “Travelers must wait more than one hour and are treated poorly.”

Newark passengers have experienced security line waits of 60 minutes to an hour-and-a-half and airlines are now asking passengers to arrive up to three hours early just to deal with getting through security.

“This cannot stand,” concluded Bramnick. “The TSA must act immediately and treat the traveling public with more respect.”

The TSA has cut 70 staff positions at Newark since 2014, according to agency figures. By the end of this year, the Port Authority estimates that its passenger numbers will have risen by 7.3 percent compared with 2014 levels. Next year, with the FAA’s lifting of slot restrictions, that number should be significantly higher.

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Bramnick Joins Fox Business News to Discuss NJ business tax climate

Cites billionaire hedge-fund manager David Tepper leaving for tax-friendly Florida

Assembly Republican Press Release -

Today, N.J. Republican Assembly Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Union), joined FOX Business News’ “Mornings with Maria” to discuss billionaire David Tepper’s decision to move out of New Jersey and the need for tax reform in the state.

New Jersey’s personal income tax provides about 40 percent of revenue, relying on the top 1 percent of taxpayers for a third of it. Tepper was ranked as the wealthiest person in New Jersey, worth $10.6 billion according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He filed for permanent residency in Florida last October.

Jon Bramnick

“My friends across the aisle, with all due respect, deny the fact that these high tax states are causing a problem,” said Bramnick. “It’s simple: things are too expensive in New Jersey and people are leaving.”

Bramnick cited a 2010 Boston College report that more than $70 billion in wealth left New Jersey between 2004 and 2008.

Please click here for the clip.

“We have an estate and inheritance tax, one of only two states in the country that have that,” continued Bramnick. “You can’t afford to die in New Jersey. The state income tax is as high as 9 percent. And you have an incredible property tax problem as well. So people are leaving.”


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Bramnick calls for overhaul of NJ tax sytstem after billionaire’s move out of state

Source: Associated Press -

The departure of one New Jersey resident to Florida has gotten so much attention that lawmakers are calling for changing the state’s tax structure, and a key legislative forecaster is raising concerns over revenue uncertainty.

The spotlight turned to hedge fund manager David Tepper this week when legislative budget forecaster Frank Haines cited the billionaire’s move to Florida as a potential factor in how much income tax revenue the state brings in. Income tax revenues make up the biggest share of cash in state coffers, and a shift in projections of as little as 1 percent amounts to about $100 million, forecasters say.

It’s unclear how much effect Tepper’s departure could have, because his tax returns haven’t been made public and it’s unknown how much taxes affected his move. Tepper didn’t return messages seeking comment.

But his move has caught the attention of the usually headline-shy legislative budget office.

“If a very wealthy individual — potentially a significant taxpayer to the state — relocates and relocates not only as we’ve been reading about it but really relocates for tax purposes … beyond our reach, then that’s something to be aware of,” said Haines, the legislative and budget finance officer.

Jon Bramnick

Tepper’s move spurred Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick to call for an overhaul of the state’s tax system.

“New Jersey can’t afford to keep losing taxpayers and businesses,” Bramnick said.

New Jersey has the lowest estate exemption level in the country at $675,000, affecting about 3,500 residents in 2014. New Jersey is one of only two states to levy both an estate and inheritance tax, and has a top income tax rate of 8.97 percent.

New Jersey’s high tax burden — the state also has the highest property taxes in the country — is regular fodder for Democratic and Republican officials. The prospects for lowering rates are uncertain, with Republican Gov. Chris Christie and the Democrat-led Legislature locked in a debate over how to rescue Atlantic City and fiercely divided over tax policy. Christie has twice vetoed Democratic proposals to raise taxes on the wealthiest residents.

But Tepper’s departure also comes as Christie pushes for ending the estate tax and as the state Senate advances a plan to phase it out.

It also comes amid a debate over how big a role the state’s tax structure plays in people leaving, with Republicans arguing it’s a major factor and many Democrats saying it’s a blip.

New Jersey’s annual Statistics of Income survey, compiled by the treasury shows the number of tax filers with income over $1 million has gone up by an average of about 6.3 percent from 1997 to 2012, the most recent year for which data is available, while filers with income below $50,000 has fallen by an average of 2.14 percent over the same time period.

Tepper, whom Forbes valued in 2015 at $10.4 billion and ranked that year as New Jersey’s richest resident, moved his residence and firm Appaloosa Management from New Jersey to Florida, where there is no income or estate tax. The news was first reported by Bloomberg.

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Bramnick backs campaign finance reform, pay-to-play changes

Source: Politico New Jersey -

Assembly Republican leader Jon Bramnick said Friday he is introducing legislation to reform campaign finance laws to address the influence of outside spending groups.

The bill (A3639), a copy of which wasn’t available on Friday, could increase disclosure requirement, boost some contribution limits and change pay-to-play laws to be “uniform for all levels of government,” his office said.

Jon Bramnick

“The role of political action committees and super PACs continues to grow in elections,” Bramnick said in a statement. “Independent and often anonymous groups will continue to increase their influence unless we do something.”

The legislation is supported by the state’s Election Law Enforcement Commission. Similar proposals have been sponsored before by Democratic Assemblyman Reed Gusciora and Republican Assemblywoman Amy Handlin. In the Senate, Democrats Loretta Weinberg and James Beach have supported the concept.

Bramnick’s office said his bill would require all federally recognized independent political groups to file disclosure forms if they are influence state elections in New Jersey. The legislation would repeal parts of existing pay-to-play laws that allow counties and municipalities to develop their own pay-to-play laws. And it would eliminate the exclusion rules for public contracts, instead lowering the disclosure threshold from $50,000 to $17,500.

“All we have here is multi-million dollar negative campaigns tipping the balance when it’s the voters who should be influencing elections,” Bramnick said. “Voters should know which organizations are influencing the candidates they vote for.”

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