On the latest episode of “New Jersey’ Business Beat with Raven Santana,” NJBIA President & CEO Michele Siekerka said the state’s business community proved its resilience in 2023 and want state leaders to tackle affordability challenges in 2024.
Siekerka discussed the findings of NJBIA’s recent annual Business Outlook Survey, which documented notable declines in sales and profits in 2023 and a dim outlook for 2024 profits. In fact, only 37% of New Jersey businesses expect to make a profit in 2024.
“I think they are literally just hoping that they can continue to keep the margin tight on their balance sheet and make the money they need to keep their businesses operating with a slight return on investment, but they’re not looking at big profits in 2024,” Siekerka said.
However, there is “cautious optimism because they’re feeling better (that) inflation is under better control right now,” Siekerka said. “They are still having supply chain challenges, which is still putting pressure on them to meet their bottom line.”
On the positive side, surveyed businesses also said their staffing challenges had eased in 2023 and they view the high quality of New Jersey’s schools and workforce as positives, Siekerka said.
“We’re very resilient in New Jersey … no matter what’s thrown at us – COVID, post-COVID inflation, workforce (challenges), etc., we continue to pound away,” Siekerka said.
Asked for the key takeaway from the Business Outlook Survey, Siekerka said it was the need for tax and regulatory reforms to make New Jersey more affordable.
The sunset on Dec. 31 of the temporary corporation business tax surcharge, which will return New Jersey’s CBT to 9% instead of the current 11.5%, is good news, but more must be done to address high property taxes, income taxes, costly regulatory mandates, and the lengthy delays in obtaining the licenses and permits that businesses need from the state.
“The takeaway is that our business community is feeling better than they did the year before,” Siekerka said. “The takeaway is we have to continue to work with our policymakers on making more affordable.”
The entire episode about the 2024 Business Outlook on “New Jersey Business Beat with Raven Santana,” which aired on PBS stations on Dec. 16, can be viewed online here.