On April 9, the NJBIA/State Chamber Joint Taxation & Economic Development Policy Committee Meeting met with guest speakers Senator Steven Oroho and Assemblywoman Carol Murphy.

Sen. Oroho serves as the Republican Budget Officer and is a member of the Joint Budget Oversight, Budget and Appropriations, and Economic Growth committees.

Asw. Murphy serves as the Deputy Majority Leader and Vice-Chair of the Judiciary Committee, and is a member of the Budget, Financial Institutions and Insurance, Special Committee on Infrastructure and Natural Resources, and Oversight, Reform and Federal Relations committees.

With revenues for the FY21 Budget coming in significantly higher than expected, both legislators stressed the need to proceed with caution and avoid reckless spending. In particular, Sen. Oroho cautioned against the creation of any state program that could not be sustained without future federal funding.

Sen. Oroho and Asw. Murphy both noted the lack of new taxes in the proposed FY22 state budget as a positive for New Jersey’s hard-hit businesses. However, Sen. Oroho highlighted that businesses would still see cost increases from multiple payroll tax increases and could face future repercussions from the $4.3 billion in borrowing from last year. NJBIA shares the concern over New Jersey’s massive borrowing as it will likely lead to financial burdens down the road.

Both legislators offered support for responsible spending including full funding of pension payments, but Sen. Oroho emphasized that pension reform remains “absolutely needed.”

Asw. Murphy highlighted several initiatives that would help businesses, such as the $1.5 million allocation in the FY22 budget for Main Street New Jersey to promote the redevelopment of businesses and communities.

In addition, New Jersey will be receiving a portion of American Rescue Plan funding that put a total of $25 billion nationwide toward assistance for restaurants and $7.25 billion toward the Paycheck Protection Program, respectively. Lastly, Asw. Murphy shared that the employee retention tax credit would be extended to 2021.

Asw. Murphy also stated that funding for workforce development would be a “huge priority” for the upcoming budget sessions. NJBIA was pleased to hear this given its repeated advocacy for workforce development initiatives, which it advocated heavily for in its “Navigating a Smooth Landing for Our State Budget and Economy” guidance document on spending funds from the American Rescue Plan.

On taxation, Sen. Oroho praised New Jersey’s initiative in filing an amicus brief for the ongoing Supreme Court case between Massachusetts and New Hampshire, whereby New Hampshire is suing to stop Massachusetts’ decision to tax New Hampshire residents working from home for Massachusetts businesses. This is an important case for New Jersey given that so many of its residents work in New York, paying New York State income taxes.

NJBIA appreciated both legislators’ comments and was glad to hear support for many of the business community’s top priorities for spending American Rescue Plan dollars such as stimulating the economy, reducing debt, coordinating expenditures, a multi-year approach to spending, and protecting the state’s vulnerable population.