Michael Egenton is thrilled that the proposed New Jersey budget does not include any targeted tax increases on businesses — that’s always the goal, he said.
And, when he testified virtually before the state Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee on Tuesday morning, Egenton was not shy about asking for what businesses really need as they attempt to come out of the pandemic: more help.
Egenton, the longtime executive vice president of government relations for the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, testified that more of the now-overflowing coffers could be used to help the business community. He offered ways the state could use more of its federal funding from the American Rescue Plan to make the state a better place to do business.
“In the spirit of affordability, which the Legislature and governor have prioritized this year, we urge this committee to consider the cost of doing business in New Jersey,” he said. “While the several small programs for business assistance are much appreciated, they have not nearly been enough.
“As we have done from Day One of the pandemic, we continue to request a substantial amount of allocations for direct capital infusions to businesses that continue to need working capital to survive.”
Here are his asks:
- Return and Earn: That the Department of Labor & Workforce Development’s Return and Earn program be expanded by increasing the subsidy from $500 to $1000.
“This will help incentivize more people to come back to work and afford employers the opportunity to hire them,” he said.
- UI fund: That the state fully replenishes the state’s Unemployment Insurance fund, as 30 other states have done. Note the “fully” part — and how there will be a tax increase without it.
“To not alleviate the issue would create a tax increase, adding to the business community’s pandemic-related burdens,” he said.
- GILTI: That the state exempt 95% of the Global Intangible Low-Taxed Income from corporate income tax.
“This would be more comparable to many other states and would make New Jersey more competitive,” he said.
Egenton said the return on investment on such suggestions would be great.
“We believe implementing these suggestions in the Fiscal Year 2023 state budget will help New Jersey realize a full-throttle economic recovery,” he said.