September 21, 2004 New Jersey Increases Taxes and Fees Governor McGreevey raised the income tax to 8.97% for taxpayers with taxable income of $500,000 or greater, effective retroactively to January 1, 2004. The 6.37% rate will continue to apply to taxable income up to $499,999. This makes New Jersey more tax unfriendly since its tax system is a gross income tax whereas New York’s is on net income (gross less deductions). Sales of New Jersey realty by non-residents will require a withholding tax. The rate will be at the highest personal income tax rate of 8.97%. In addition, a basic fee on the sale of realty will involve $1.75 per $500 of consideration and if the sale is greater than $350,000 an additional $.90 per $500, if greater than $550,000 an additional $1.40 per $500, if greater than $850,000 an additional $1.90 per $500 and if over $1,000,000 an additional $2.15 per $500. Effective for assets placed into service after December 31, 2003, New Jersey will no longer allow any 30% or 50% bonus federal depreciation. Effective August 1, 2004, tires sold will have a fee of $1.50 per tire. Cigarette taxes spike to $2.40 per pack up from $2.05. Effective September 1, 2004 a 6% tax will be charged on certain cosmetic surgery, including cosmetic surgery, hair transplants, cosmetic injections, cosmetic soft tissue fillers, dermabrasion, chemical peel, laser hair removal, laser skin resurfacing, laser treatment of leg veins, and cosmetic dentistry. Effective June 29, 2004 a special assessment of 1% on new written HMO premiums. Good riddance, Governor McGreevey!! The CPA Journal 8/04 p. 38 John Kerry is in Favor of Large Businesses by his tax proposals. He wants to cut their top tax rate from 35% to 33.25% and to raise the tax on individuals who include sole proprietors from 33% and 35% to 36% and 39.6%. John Kerry’s plan will roll back the benefits to self-employeds that President Bush and the GOP favor. If the Kerry tax increases will affect you, we suggest you call Howard Lisch to learn about tax shelters and to change your pension plan to provide for greater contributions. Winter Heating Costs to Rise The recent run up in crude oil costs will cause winter heating costs to rise this winter. If you are using home heating oil, we suggest you consider signing a preseason contract to lock in your costs. Inside Madison Square Garden at the RNC I started when former mayor Ed Koch said be nice to the Republicans when they are in town. Ultimately, at the request of Bill Harris, the CEO of the Convention at a Republican Jewish Coalition function, I became a volunteer at the Republican National Convention through the New York City Partnership organized by Mayor Bloomberg. The City Partnership is a not for profit organization that was set up as a vehicle so that ordinary citizens could help our city look good to these Republican visitors and the accompanying journalists. I figured I owed something to NYC and this was a chance of paying it back. After all, if a good Democrat convention in 1992 could help NYC, a similarly good one without incident could be good for business in 2004; that the local journalists will write to their constituents that NYC was open for business and relatively safe. If business perked up it would be good for my clients. And what is good for them is ultimately good for me. After registering and undergoing a background security check I was given the coveted assignment of being inside the Garden. And there I was for three days. Each day I reported to the Pennsylvania Hotel to check in and be given my daily assignment and credentials. In order to get there I had to walk past some of NYC’s Finest who were invariably polite. I was never engaged by any protestors. One day, I conversed with Chris Mathews of Hardball on MSNBC and wished him a good show. His “set” was just across the street from the office and their green room was in a trailer parked just outside of the building where my office is. The city was a paradise, a pedestrian mall, considering the lack of cars and of people. Those of you who stayed home missed a delightful safe city, with an easy commute to and fro. After forming up with my group and led by our team captain, we walked to Madison Square Garden, went through the magnetometers and checkpoints. My various assignments for the three days consisted of checking the credentials of anyone who walked in through the doors of the Garden, down the halls, or wanted to use the escalators, in addition to answering their questions as to how to get to their seat, party, rest rooms, taxis, or buses. I was also posted outside of an elevator to prevent all but the infirm or members of law enforcement from using it. In general, you could not walk more than 150 feet without being checked to see whether you were authorized to be in the area. With all this security, the delegates and others were in good spirits and except for some prominent members of the television press were very understanding of the constant checking. Many delegates said thank you to us volunteers and one gave me a pin from their delegation (IDAHO) after finding out we could not sit for 8 hours and had only a one hour break for a snack. Another gave me a VIP admission card to an event held in his honor so that I could get a good meal (Congressman Frelinghuysen NJ). The delegates dressed very well. Most men wore suits (except for the Texas and Hawaii delegations). The women delegates were dressed up as well. The female guests however were dressed to the nines and looked ready to party, of which there were many, none of which I was invited to except the Congressman’s. Television pundits consistently say Republican delegates are old, white and matronly. I can tell you that they were of all ages, colors and definitely not dressed matronly. The delegates, their guests, dignitaries, alternates, etc. were a very multicultural bunch. More so than the press, which was uniformly young and white. And I should know since over the three nights every person other than some VIPs had to be checked by me. One interesting note was the amount of Jewish volunteers I met (a group not usually associated with Republicans). They appeared to be college students. Some volunteers wanted to go into the “bowl”, that is the area you see on TV. I didn’t, as I could see any speech better on Cspan and I did not volunteer in order to get a better view. The last day of the convention was a blockbuster in that twice the number of people cane to the Garden as well as protestors outside. The NYPD was great in keeping everything under control outside as did the NYPD and Secret Service inside. The NYPD was also very tactful on that last night when a group of Black Republicans came to demonstrate outside to show that not all Blacks are Democrats. The NYPD deftly moved them to a spot several feet from Democrat and Anarchist protestors so there wasn’t an incident the entire evening. Because there wasn’t an incident it was not on TV. The NYPD is truly the best police force in the nation! We in NY ought to be very proud. After the convention, I walked the deserted streets of New York. There seemed to be more police on the streets than tourists and it seemed police were stationed at every hotel and major restaurant, and they were extremely polite. This was a once in a lifetime experience (because my aching feet say I cannot repeat it!). The tax advantage of my service was that since I expended funds on behalf of the tax-exempt organization (the NYC Partnership), all my expenses in connection with applying for and participating in the convention were tax deductible! If you have any questions about the foregoing or any other financial matters, please call us. Remember, We’re Here For You!!