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New Jersey Business & Industry Association President and CEO Michele Siekerka issued the following statement in response to today’s State of the State address by Gov. Phil Murphy. 

“As Governor Murphy embarks on his second term, we continue to call for the need of a proactive and comprehensive plan to help New Jersey businesses and the economy, rather than the reactive approach and continuation of the policies that harm our business community. 

“We acknowledge and appreciate some of the plans that have been put forth by the governor over the past year to assist New Jersey businesses, as well as his reluctance to return to the previously imposed restrictions on business amid rising COVID test results. These have been important steps. 

“However, New Jersey businesses are still looking at nearly a $1 billion payroll tax increase, which started in late 2021 and will continue over the next two years, to replenish the state’s unemployment trust fund.  

“While federal recovery funds were not used to assist in the replenishment of that fund, as was done in most states, New Jersey still awaits the presentation of a comprehensive plan to use ARPA funds to help support pro-growth areas like workforce development, infrastructure and innovation, and to bring further support to small businesses, particularly in the hard-hit hospitality, retail, manufacturing and healthcare sectors. 

“Disappointingly, while businesses continue to struggle, our Legislature still made efforts to put bills on the Governor’s desk that will impose even more burdens and costs on them. Just yesterday, in fact, the governor signed one of them (S-771/A-6195). And more of those bills are currently on his desk. Our lawmakers desperately need to achieve more balance in placing those burdens beyond the business community and to stop policies that hurt small businesses, particularly as they struggle with a historic hiring and retention crisis, reduced revenue and the highest tax burdens in the nation. 

“Of course, it is great to hear the pledge of no new taxes offered by Governor Murphy today. But New Jersey needs to do more about affordability, an issue that NJBIA has been advocating for and bringing recommendations forward for too many years now, and which was listed as a priority by legislative leadership today to start the new session.  We need structural reforms that will lead to property tax relief.” 

“We have the highest corporate tax rate and highest property taxes in the nation. Our income tax rates are among the highest, as well. This is a unique opportunity for our state to provide tax relief across the board so residents have more money in their pockets, so startups can launch here and so corporations can grow here.”