From the NY Times:
Politically speaking, Livingston is not the bluest of the suburbs surrounding New York City. But there are few places where people are feeling any more anxious about the potential impact of the federal tax bill proposed by Republican leaders in Washington.
“They’re crippling us,” said Walter Levine, who has lived in this New Jersey community since 1976.
As Mr. Levine sees it, Livingston, a fairly affluent town with a population of about 30,000, could become even less affordable as residents face rising tax bills and falling home values. They could be left with less disposable income to spend in the local stores, setting off a “domino effect” that could derail the town’s economy.
It is a dire forecast, but not a radical one. Livingston sits on the western edge of Essex County, which Moody’s Analytics, a company that provides economic research, placed at the top of its list of places whose housing markets would suffer the most under the Republicans’ plan. According to Moody’s, the tax proposal could carve as much as 10.5 percent off the projected value of homes in Essex County in two years. Six other New Jersey counties made the top 10 on Moody’s list.
Livingston’s Republican representative in Congress, Rodney Frelinghuysen, voted against the House version of the tax bill because, he said, of the “very negative impacts it would have on so many of my fellow New Jerseyans.”
In many ways, Livingston is a microcosm of all the forces that will collide in the heavily taxed towns that ring New York City when the proposed tax law takes effect. These are places that have drawn residents willing to stretch their budgets to cover big mortgages and high property taxes in exchange for good schools and a comfortable lifestyle, understanding that they could deduct their local levies and reduce their federal taxes. But the tax bill would radically alter that equation, forcing potentially painful choices in towns like Livingston. For some, the math just may not work anymore, driving them and their neighbors to reconsider the classic suburban dream.
“No one gets creamed more than New Jersey from this tax bill,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Analytics. He said the state was particularly vulnerable because its homes are expensive, its property taxes are the highest in the nation and it also has a high state income tax.