Bracken to Assembly Budget Committee: ‘This is nightmare scenario for business’

New Jersey Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Bracken did not hold back when testifying Monday morning before the Assembly Budget Committee on the proposed Fiscal Year 2025 state budget.

Bracken said the proposed new taxes on the business community, both big (the 2.5% Corporate Transit Fee) and small (a “Buck a Truck” tax on warehousing), make little sense.

“Our largest employers, who are also our biggest nonprofit philanthropists, are being saddled with a completely unwarranted tax increase — the dollar amount of which is more punitive to those affected than the recently expired CBT surcharge,” his written testimony said. “It is simply a more egregious and expensive extension of the surcharge.

“Also, one of the fastest-growing segments of our economy, the logistics industry, is being slapped with what can only be described as nuisance tax, begging the question, ‘Why?’”

Bracken said this is coming in a budget that is cutting funding to several state agencies that have been extremely helpful to the business community: the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, the New Jersey Business Action Center and the New Jersey Small Business Development Centers.

“There is an absence of any substantial new — or renewed — budget allocation for business in this budget,” he testified.

Bracken has long said the biggest threat to New Jersey is the economy. Right now, revenues are trending down, while expenses are going up, he said.

He offered these suggestions:

  • Restore the money to the EDA, the BAC and the SBDCs;
  • Use the $6 billion surplus before adding any more new taxes;
  • Eliminate the Corporate Transit Fee by finding an additional $1 billion in a $56 billion budget;
  • Eliminate the “Buck a Truck” Tax — which may only provide an additional $10 million of revenue in a $56 billion budget.

“Our economic future needs to be addressed in this budget,” Bracken said. “As currently stated, it is void of that.’’

Bracken said the state has an opportunity it may not have again for a long time. It must take advantage of it by helping the business community, not hurting it.

“You cannot grow anything unless you feed it,” he said. “We are not only not feeding the business community — we are starving it.”