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NJBIA President and CEO Michele Siekerka issued the following statement regarding Gov. Phil Murphy’s proposal of a new and permanent 2.5% surtax on New Jersey’s largest job providers, returning them to a national outlier status for the highest top business taxes in the nation, as part of his FY25 State Budget proposal.  

“In June, Gov. Phil Murphy was asked at a press conference if he would rule out raising taxes at a time of softening revenues to fund the Stay NJ program.

“I think I can say definitively, yes, we rule it out – because it’s kind of crazy to raise taxes to deliver tax relief,” he said with his legislative leaders at his side.

“Just two weeks ago, the governor was asked on “Ask the Governor” if he was having second thoughts about sunsetting the Corporate Business Tax surtax that had earned New Jersey the highest CBT rate in the nation.

“Said the governor: ‘We are top four in the country on corporate tax rates. So, we’re already a very expensive state…My heart, if you will, is not bleeding (for corporations), but we also have to be cold blooded about our economic development strategy. We need the jobs that those big companies bring to New Jersey.’  

“Yet, just days later, we are here with another new and unnecessary corporate business tax of a different name, returning New Jersey to its extreme outlier status for business taxes after seven weeks – retroactive to Jan. 1, to add insult to injury.

“We note that the added $10 million revenue threshold of the new CBT tax in his budget proposal changes almost nothing about the negative impact on New Jersey’s business competitiveness in attracting corporate job creation and capital investment. It is an unfair and undeniable negative that delivers another serious blow to our business reputation.

PUNISHING NJ BUSINESSES

“That Governor Murphy would re-commit to a new business tax at a time of a multi-billion-dollar surplus to fund NJ TRANSIT when there is no correlation between those impacted corps and public transportation – which he acknowledges himself – is nothing short of a punitive action against our largest job providers. It is a punishment they do not deserve.

“Simultaneously, our neighbors in Pennsylvania are lowering their top CBT rate to 4.9% – and funding its transportation system without using corporate taxes. Go figure.

“Further, the governor’s sudden reversal on the surtax, with no forewarning, is simply bad form. Businesses require the ability to plan to be successful. When you make promises that drive investment, and then renege on them a few weeks later, it goes well beyond creating terrible policy.

“It either reaffirms, with startling conviction, New Jersey’s anti-business climate, messaging to businesses here and across the nation that they can place no trust in their state leaders. Or it shows the state really is a fiscal mess, which was only masked by federal dollars indirectly funding shortfalls in the short term.

HOLDING GOV. MURPHY AND LEGISLATORS ACCOUNTABLE

“Our legislators need to do better by our business community – period, full stop.

“We are calling on them to right this wrong. In the coming days, NJBIA will be messaging our dissatisfaction on behalf of our business community, driving home how our leadership fails to prioritize our businesses. Rather, in fact, they are taking advantage of our business assets and putting them and the tens of thousands of jobs that they represent at risk.

“Our policymakers have created an unsustainable budget and now want to use the business community to make up for their year-after-year irresponsible budget increases.

“In fact, last year’s last-minute pork added to the budget without any transparency is larger than the proposed tax increases. This shows how spending increases are the problem, not revenue. It is not acceptable.

“To add further insult, there’s another effort in this budget to tax businesses with a warehousing trucking fee. New Jersey is a logistics state, so now we’re going to punish our warehouses, drivers and consumers for that, too?

“The governor and legislative leadership can say what they want about their supposed support of New Jersey businesses small and large. But talk is cheap. And operating a business here is anything but.

“Throughout the budget process and forward we will hold our policymakers accountable to do right by New Jersey businesses.”