Bracken opposed to raising CBT — but not for reason you may think

State chamber CEO says solution to NJ Transit’s budget shortfall need to be solved by NJ Transit actions

To be sure, New Jersey Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Bracken is vehemently against bringing back a 2.5% surcharge on the Corporate Business Tax to pay for the New Jersey Transit budget shortfall — a plan that is getting some attention.

But it’s not just because Bracken is against taxes.

Bracken is bothered by the concept of using the business community to solve the problems of another entity.

“To me, it’s like congestion pricing,” he said. “There’s a problem with the subway system in New York, so they said, ‘Let’s get the New Jersey commuters to pay for it.’”

Bracken said it’s analogous.

“The Corporate Business Tax has nothing to do with New Jersey Transit’s problem,” he said. “If you have a problem, try to find a solution that has a linkage to the problem — and the CBT has no linkage at all to New Jersey Transit.”

In addition, he argued raising the CBT would not solve revenue issues. It would only make them worse, he argued.

“We’re starting to see declining revenues and we’re probably going to be seeing continuing declines in revenue in the state — and the biggest decline has been in the in the business taxes,” he said. “So, are we going to try to get more decline by forcing people not to come here, not to stay here?

“The whole thing is the easy way out for those people who are proposing it. It would be self-defeating, at best, if they do it.”

The issue was raised this past weekend by state Senate President Nick Scutari (D-Clark). And Scutari was parroted something Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop said this past summer, when discussing his platform to be governor.

Bracken is somewhat confident the talk won’t move to legislation. And, if it does, that Gov. Phil Murphy will not sign it.

“I think it would be absolutely foolish for the governor to support this after what he said so vehemently all summer about ‘a deal is a deal,’” Bracken said. “So, if it ever rears its ugly head again and gets to his desk, I don’t think he’s going to sign it.”