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There’s no question that New Jersey businesses have taken it on the chin during the pandemic and with a disastrous FY2021 budget rife with excess spending, borrowing and taxing.

But there was a positive theme for business in the Statehouse this week, with a host of proposals centered on a single word: Relief.

The better news is those bills, many of which were heard during the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development (ACE) Committee, all advanced.

“These types of legislative actions are positive steps to help businesses, particularly as they struggle through these challenging times,” said NJBIA Chief Government Affairs Officer Chrissy Buteas. “We credit those policymakers who are supporting efforts, in particular ACE Chairman Gordon Johnson, as they have the potential to bring tangible and much-needed relief for businesses.”

NJBIA’s Vice President of Government Affairs Christopher Emigholz testified in support of two big-ticket relief items this week in ACE. Bill A-4809 will make corporate business tax (CBT) reporting and compliance easier for corporations through technical corrections to CBT law.

It also would make the state CBT deadline a month after the federal due date, which follows Gov. Phil Murphy’s recently announced Executive Order 189, which does that temporarily.

“Anecdotally, NJBIA has heard that this bill would potentially reduce the CBT paperwork by thousands of pages,” Emigholz said. “The bill also answers some outstanding questions regarding New Jersey’s combined reporting/unitary changes from 2018.”

The bill will be heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Monday. Its Senate counterpart bill, S-3007, also advanced in the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee this week.

Also advancing this week, and supported by NJBIA, was bill A-4810, which creates a permanent red-tape review-type commission to assist businesses with regulatory relief.

Emigholz testified that while businesses and manufacturers need an improved tax climate, innovation ecosystem, workforce development pipeline and infrastructure, reducing regulatory burdens is the only component for growth that will not cost the government anything.

“Government should be constantly improving and always striving to be leaner and more efficient for the sake of good stewardship of taxpayer dollars and better quality service to its constituents, and a commission like this will push us in that direction,” Emigholz testified.

Also advancing in the committee:

  • A-4850 establishes an expedited construction inspection program, which would provide some regulatory flexibility within the development industry
  • A-485 provides regualatory flexibility to home-based businesses thorugh the “Home-Based Jobs Creation Act.”
  • A-2226 suspends fines for certain first-time paperwork violations committed by small businesses
  • A-4806 permits municipalities to authorize property tax reward programs
  • A-1269 eliminates the 1% fee and 1% tax on the purchasers of Class 4A commercial property, to benefit the real estate industry
  • AR-193 urges the federal government to raise state and local tax deduction to $25,000

Also advancing in the Assembly Labor Committee this week was bill A-4853, which would soften an impending $1 billion payroll tax increase by addressing both the business-specific experience rating and the rates driven by the overall health of the fund.

Without this legislation, Emigholz told the committee, “The payroll tax increase would penalize struggling employers who had layoffs that were beyond their control during the pandemic.”