Tom Bracken, the CEO of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, was thrilled.
Gov. Phil Murphy, in his budget address last week, not only introduced a budget that includes no new taxes and fees, Murphy reiterated his promise to allow the 2.5% Corporation Business Tax surcharge to sunset at the end of 2023.
“The governor’s position on this is correct,” Bracken said afterward. “It will help make the state more competitive and more affordable. It will also demonstrate that our leaders honor their commitments, which results in the reliability that businesses seek.”
Both issues have been on Bracken’s wish list for some time. Getting them was cause for celebration.
But, if you think this is going to stop Bracken from pushing for more items that will make the state more competitive, you don’t know Tom Bracken.
On March 14-15 at Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City, Bracken and the chamber will host their second Re-New Jersey Business Summit & Expo.
Bracken is confident the event’s opening act — U.S. Chamber of Commerce Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley and U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-5th Dist.) — will set the tone, as the two will discuss strategies other states have utilized to improve their business climate.
“I think they will do a great job of kind of setting the stage for what we’re talking about,” Bracken said.
Even after the CBT surcharge expires, Bracken correctly points out that New Jersey will have the fourth-highest CBT rate in the nation, which should be targeted for further reductions.
To be fair, there will be plenty of praise for Murphy, too.
“The chamber is supportive of measures proposed by Gov. Murphy to assist business owners in urban areas hit hard by the pandemic, as well as programs that revitalize New Jersey’s main streets and downtowns,” Bracken said. “We back initiatives that support businesses in our Shore towns, since they contribute so much to the state’s overall economy.
“And we applaud the governor’s announcement to provide parents with increased child care tax credits, which will enable many parents to get back to work and help ease the workforce shortage.”
“If Gov. Murphy wants to create a ‘next’ New Jersey, simply doing more of the same as in previous budgets will make the change difficult,” Bracken said. “More aggressive actions are needed to improve our image and the way our citizens think about the state. Additional support for the business community will do just that. With a $10 billion surplus, strategic investments can and should be made.”