Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto gave a strong endorsement Wednesday of the tax and economic development reforms enacted over the last seven years in New Jersey and said he hopes they will be continued by the next Governor.
Speaking before about 50 member companies at NJBIA’s Meet the Decision Makers event , Prieto cited the recent phase-out of the estate tax and the increase in the income tax exclusion for pension and retirement , which were enacted just last year, as well as tax reforms dating back to 2011, including the increased flexibility to offset income with business losses.
“All of these things have given help to businesses,” Prieto said. “It would be counterproductive for us to go back and pull the rug out from anybody.”
Prieto said he and many lawmakers recognized that if they raised the gas tax to support transportation, they also needed to provide tax relief to offset it. New Jersey had the lowest estate tax threshold in the country and was No. 1 in retirement taxes, so it made sense to cut those.
“There’s a lot of things we’re ranked No. 1 in that we don’t want to be No. 1 in,” Prieto said.
Lawmakers are also dealing with a new administration in the White House that is making dramatic changes. Prieto said that his staff briefs him once a week on federal issues and how they would impact the state. So far, it’s mixed.
“There are some things that sound great, and there are some things that don’t sound too great,” Prieto said. “It’s a balancing act.”
President Donald Trump’s pledge to dramatically increase spending on infrastructure could benefit the state by creating jobs. Repealing the Affordable Care Act, however, could be detrimental. The expanded Medicaid funding, for instance, provided healthcare for 500,000 New Jersey residents that didn’t have it before, Prieto said.