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High-tax New Jersey to create task force on wealth disparity

Brittany De Lea

New Jersey’s Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy will create a new task force to tackle the “persistent issue” of wealth disparity in the state.

During his State of the State address on Tuesday, Murphy said issues concerning wealth disparity have deep roots and complex causes, which he plans on bringing in experts to examine.

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“I am creating a new task force — government officials, academic researchers and faith and community leaders —  with the specific charge to address wealth disparity from all angles and all causes,” Murphy said. “Their work will better inform our work on closing these gaps.”

According to U.S. Census data released last year, New Jersey ranked among the top ten in the nation for inequality. About 9.5 percent of people were considered to be living in poverty.

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Part of Murphy’s plan to close the wealth gap also involves implementing a millionaire’s tax,  or a tax on those with incomes of more than $1 million. Murphy vowed to renew his fight for the tax on Tuesday, which has been a long-time goal of his in Trenton.

Last year, he wanted to implement a millionaire’s tax with a top rate of 10.75 percent on people with incomes over $1 million. However, amid disagreements with the state legislature, which threatened to shut down the state government, Murphy agreed to sign the budget without it.

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Other areas that Murphy focused on were high health care costs – as he praised his administration’s commitment to upholding the Affordable Care Act – property tax relief and clean energy initiatives.

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