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Business groups today urged Gov. Phil Murphy and the Legislature to work toward a more fiscally responsible FY 2021 budget that recognizes New Jersey’s economic realities.

Among the calls made by the groups were the elimination of $1 billion in new taxes and a large reduction of $4 billion in borrowing proposed by Governor Murphy.

“A fiscally responsible budget demands a reduction, if not elimination, of the $5 billion in proposed new revenue from new taxes and borrowing,” said NJBIA President and CEO Michele Siekerka.

“Affordability and competitiveness issues have been slowing the growth of our economy for many years,” Siekerka said.

“Exacerbating these problems will cause further devastation for the very same taxpayers who have lost revenues. We need a budget that will enable our job creators to get back to work.”

“We currently have businesses struggling for their survival, and we have one of the highest unemployment rates in the country – but we still have no economic plan,” said Tom Bracken, president and CEO of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce.

“This budget drives more nails into the business coffin. There’s nothing in this budget that grows the economy,” Bracken said. “We need a restart budget that reflects New Jersey’s economic reality right now. This is the ideal time to have an introspective look to restart our economy.”

A recording of the press conference can be found here.

Written budget testimony submitted to the Legislature by NJBIA Vice President of Government Affairs Chris Emigholz can be found here.

A letter written by the New Jersey Business Coalition to Governor Murphy and the Legislature concerning the FY2021 budget can be found here.

Governor Murphy’s proposed $40.1 billion budget includes $1.4 billion in additional spending and is $15.6% higher than the state budget number before he took office, while the state’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contracted by 5.5% in the first quarter of 2020 and is now 10% worse than the national average.

“The budget should not grow $1.4 billion or 3.6% from last year in the midst of this economic downturn, when revenues are down,” Siekerka said.

The press conference included a broad a call for no new taxes, particularly with a $1.3 billion surplus as part of the budget proposal.

Most glaring, Governor Murphy’s budget includes increases in the income tax and corporate business tax rates, both of which will make our state less competitive and less attractive to job creators after New Jersey has already lost more than $24 billion in net adjusted gross income over the past 12 years. The corporate business tax increase would give New Jersey the highest CBT rate in the nation after Iowa’s corporate tax rate phase down in 2021.

Participating groups during the call included:
•    African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey, Inc.
•    Bernards Township Chamber of Commerce
•    Capitol Region Minority Chamber of Commerce
•    Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey
•    Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey
•    Early Childhood Education Advocates
•    Greater Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce
•    New Jersey Business & Industry Association
•    New Jersey Gasoline C-Store-Automotive Association
•    New Jersey Restaurant & Hospitality Association
•    New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants
•    New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce