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NJBIA’s Government Affairs Policy Committee recently held a virtual meeting with Assemblyman Roy Freiman, Chair of the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee, and Assemblyman William Spearman, Chair of the Commerce, Economic Development and Agriculture Committee, to discuss their legislative priorities in 2024, as well as other issues impacting businesses this legislative session. 

Chairman Freiman highlighted two opportunities for the New Jersey to market itself to other states and the world as it prepares to celebrate the nation’s 250th birthday in 2026, as well as hosting the World Cup Final in the same year. Both events give the state an opportunity to showcase a favorable image and attract businesses and investment, he said. 

In his remarks, Freiman confirmed concerns about a forecasted shortfall in the upcoming FY25 State Budget. He suggested that personal income tax returns may make up shortfalls due to strong markets at the end of the year but cautioned that there still exists an urgency for new revenue.  

When asked if last year’s record-setting surplus would be used to sustain spending in lieu of increased revenues, he suggested that this would likely only be the case if it was deemed necessary to address short-term volatility, rather than structural budget issues. 

Also speaking on the upcoming budget, Chairman Spearman noted the high cost of living in New Jersey and suggested the budget, which has grown from around $37 billion in FY20 to $54 billion in FY24, is unsustainable.  

Chairman Spearman spoke in favor of finding innovative ways to provide services which would avoid relying on continued tax increases for businesses. As examples of such innovation, Spearman cited two bills he is sponsoring: A-2374, which would establish the NJ State Parks and Open Space Foundation; and A-2369, which would support businesses looking to partner with education providers and nonprofits to provide pre-employment training. 

In addition to the remarks provided by Chairmen Freiman and Spearman, NJBIA Chief Government Affairs Officer Christopher Emigholz provided an update on tax and budget issues facing the business community in FY25.  

Emigholz noted the upcoming State Budget address which will provide clarity on the governor’s proposed priorities and cautioned that suggestions of reinstating the temporary corporate business tax (CBT) surcharge have reemerged in the lead-up to the governor’s budget proposal, although, to date, the governor has repeatedly rejected the idea of bringing back the CBT surcharge.