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NJBIA President & CEO Michele Siekerka told “New Jersey Politics” host Laura Jones that the state’s business community, which has struggled through the economic impact of COVID-19, record-high inflation, and labor shortages, is looking for tax relief this year to make New Jersey more affordable.

“The top three things that legislators and policymakers can do is taxes, taxes and taxes,” Siekerka told Jones during the Jan. 21 broadcast on WJLP/MeTV.  “No. 1, the corporate business tax; No. 2, the individual income tax; and No. 3, the property tax.”

Siekerka noted the 2.5% corporate business tax surcharge, which raised New Jersey top income tax rate for corporations from 9% to 11.5% back in 2018, is supposed to sunset on Dec. 31. Gov. Phil Murphy and legislative leaders said recently they would not extend the surcharge, as they did once before in 2020.

“The corporate business tax is supposed to sunset … (when it does) you know that’ll be a fine start because that’s a promise made, promise kept,” Siekerka said. “Let’s get that done.”

Siekerka pointed out the economic challenges that businesses have endured in recent years, including COVID-19, inflation, supply chain disruptions, and labor shortages, in making the case for tax reform and regulatory relief for the business community. Exacerbating the situation is that the business community has been specifically excluded from some relief programs.

For example, homeowners and renters are receiving property tax relief this spring under the governor’s new ANCHOR program, but businesses cannot participate even though they pay nearly half of all property taxes collected in New Jersey, she pointed out.

“The business community is really resilient,” Siekerka said. “They’re doing a good job of controlling the things they can control, but where the frustration comes in is that when they take one step forward, it seems the government comes in with some new mandates that sets them back two steps.”