ReNew Jersey Business Summit
In addition to Gov. Phil Murphy, a number of elected officials will be getting an earful from New Jersey business owners and others at the Chamber’s ReNew Jersey Business Summit. Two Republican politicians slated to sit on the State Legislative Priorities panel also spoke with NJBIZ about their take on the state’s challenges. Democratic lawmakers did not respond to requests for comment.
State Senate Republican Leader Steven Oroho, R-24th District, said the strength of New Jersey’s economy in the short-term “is linked to consumer confidence, which is currently depressed due to high inflation and rising gas prices that make our families feel less secure in their financial well-being. Senate Republicans have proposed our Give It Back tax credit to return $3 billion in tax over-collections this year to New Jerseyans through $1,000 tax credits to families. We also have proposed an additional $500 tax credit to provide inflation and gas price relief.
Combined, these proposals would provide $4.5 billion in tax relief to New Jerseyans immediately when they file their taxes for 2021. Anyone who has already filed would get a payment from the state.”
One big obstacle to the recovery is the fact that “New Jersey consistently ranks as one of the most unfriendly states in the nation in which to do business,” he said. “And we often have one of the worst combined tax burdens for both individuals and businesses. That’s a reputation we can shed by continuing efforts to lower the cost of government at every level and addressing the drivers of our long-term debts, including public employee pensions and benefits. We should pass legislation that would establish the Government Efficiency and Regulatory Review Commission for this purpose, and we should be prepared to override if Gov. Murphy vetoes the legislation again, as he did last session.”
He applauded the “well-funded Transportation Trust Fund plan to help New Jersey invest in critical transportation infrastructure,” but noted that “we need our representatives in Congress to keep fighting for federal dollars. Some of our biggest and most expensive projects, including the Gateway Tunnel, are critical to our nation’s economy and they deserve greater federal investment.”
Minority Leader John DiMaio, R-23rd District, also had some critical observations. “Inflation is killing us, but Trenton is making the problem worse,” he said, citing North Carolina as an example to emulate. “North Carolina led the nation in growth for three years after cutting taxes in 2013 and moved from America’s sixth-worst business environment to 11th best. New Jersey meanwhile increased the size of government and instead targeted politically connected corporations with tax breaks while small businesses continued to pay full freight. As a result, New Jersey dropped from having the third-worst business environment in 2013 to worst in the nation in 2015 – a record it still holds today.”
An effort to turn the state around “can start by returning energy tax receipts to towns and requiring it be dedicated to actually lowering property taxes,” he noted.
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