The State of New Jersey has experienced increasing economic difficulties in recent years. Its state and local tax burden is the highest in the nation, totaling 11.8% of the average taxpayer’s income, and the Tax Foundation ranked New Jersey’s business tax climate as the most inhospitable in the nation in 2009. The state’s economic growth in terms of real GDP has stagnated.
Deteriorating economic conditions in the state may have caused New Jersey to begin losing two of its most important assets: its businesses and its residents. According to a Rutgers University study, between 2002 and 2006, the state lost 231,565 people. This decrease in population resulted in a cumulative income loss of $7.9 billion between 2000 and 2005. According to other surveys, only ten percent of New Jerseyans were satisfied with the way their state and local governments operated in 2008, and forty-nine percent of residents expressed a desire to leave the state in 2007. Twenty-eight percent of residents wishing to move cited high property taxes as their most pressing concern.