Chamber member survey High taxes, cost of living plague N.J. recovery

Andrew George//July 21, 2015//

Chamber member survey High taxes, cost of living plague N.J. recovery

Andrew George//July 21, 2015//

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Roughly a third of New Jersey Chamber of Commerce members say New Jersey’s high cost of living and tax structure continues to be the “single biggest obstacle” in the way of the state making a full economic recovery, according to a new survey released Tuesday.The survey, released in partnership with Baker Tilly, found that another 28 percent of all respondents said that New Jersey’s decaying transportation infrastructure was the state’s biggest issue.

Other issues that resonated with members included the need to fix the state’s pension system and cut through regulatory red tape.

“It is no surprise that high taxes are at the top of the list,” chamber president Tom Bracken said. “New Jersey-based corporations pay a 9.4 percent tax rate, one of the highest in the country. Despite that, some in the state Legislature last month proposed increasing the corporate tax rate again to 10.75 percent. We fought hard against it and thankfully Gov. Christie vetoed it.”

The survey found that 14 executives from the 100 companies that responded conceded that they are currently considering a move out-of-state, again citing high costs and taxes.

A majority of respondents, some 82 percent, noted that they expect to increase or maintain their current staffing levels over the next year and 77 percent added that their businesses’ revenues are slated to stay on course or increase in that time.

Overall, 42 percent of all respondents said they expect New Jersey’s economy to improve in the next year, compared with just 16 percent who expect it to worsen.

“There are many rewards to running a business in New Jersey, including a well-educated workforce, a second-to-none location between New York and Philadelphia and a consumer base with one of the nation’s highest household incomes,” Baker Tilly partner Bob Fodera said. “Businesses located in New Jersey are situated in the nation’s most well-connected region in the country. It’s a place many companies want to be. But they want to feel as though their issues are being heard and seriously considered by the Legislature.

The Chamber plans on addressing the survey’s issues further at a business summit scheduled for Sept. 17 at the Borgata in Atlantic City.