ReNew Notebook: A.C. movie studio, TTF increase — and concern over Corporate Transit Fee

Gov. Phil Murphy said the state hopes to cut the ribbon this summer on a project that will bring television and film production to Atlantic City.

Murphy, during a keynote address at the ReNew Jersey Summit & Business Expo on Tuesday in Atlantic City, said ACX1 Studios, which opened last summer as an entertainment venue on the former site of the Million Dollar Pier, aims to add television and film production capabilities.

Murphy did not offer specific details, but previous reports indicated the four-story, 550,000-square-foot multiuse facility could have up to 150 sets, each of which could take advantage of South Jersey-specific tax credits.

“We offer a 35% tax credit to companies filming in South Jersey, which means, for them, choosing a facility like ACX1 Studios is a no brainer,” Murphy told the crowd of approximately 900.

TTF extended

Murphy came to the event following a bill signing that reauthorized the Transportation Trust Fund.

The bill, which was supported heavily by the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, will increase the state’s gas tax by 1.9 cents per year, for five years, and establish an annual electric vehicle fee of $250.

Murphy told the crowd it will be worth every penny and more.

“This will invest billions of dollars into maintaining and rebuilding our state’s infrastructure,” he said. “And, though this is a crucial investment, it also means asking drivers and commuters to pay a little bit more. That is not a decision that we take lightly, but it is one that is necessary, because we all need to chip in to support New Jersey.

“By raising this revenue and rebuilding our infrastructure today, we will save a whole lot of money tomorrow in terms of avoiding costly repairs.”

Corporate Transit Fee

The governor’s proposed Corporate Transit Fee — one that will have the state’s biggest companies pay a 2.5% tax to serve as a permanent funding source for New Jersey Transit — was one of the most talked-about issues at the event.

Not surprisingly, most in the pro-business crowd were not in favor of it. What was surprising was the result of a poll question in the unscientific ROI-NJ survey.

A random selection of attendees was asked how much they felt the tax would hurt the state on a 1-5 scale — with 1 being “not at all,” and 5 being “a lot.”

Half of those surveyed placed the impact in the 4-5 range. Perhaps surprisingly, nearly 1 in 3 (32%) said its impact would be a “3” — or not much at all.

J&J affirms its N.J. commitment

Johnson & Johnson CEO Joaquin Duato, in an insightful fireside chat that detailed his personal story and the efforts of the company, told a standing-room-only crowd that J&J is proud of its commitment to the state — and wants to strengthen it.

“We want to play for the home team — for the New Jersey team,” he said.

The company already is — perhaps in far greater numbers than many may realize. J&J spent more than $3 billion with New Jersey companies — including more than $700 million with minority-owned companies based in the state.

Wednesday schedule

8:30 a.m.: Issues important to business community during 2025 gubernatorial campaign

  • Tom Bracken, CEO, New Jersey Chamber of Commerce (moderator);
  • Gil Medina, vice president, CBRE;
  • Diane Wasser, partner in charge, New Jersey, EisnerAmper;
  • Chris Abruzzo, vice president of business development, New Jersey American Water;
  • Jim Kirkos, CEO, Meadowlands Chamber.

9:15: Closing out the decade on top (with declared gubernatorial candidates)

  • Micah Rasmussen, director, Rebovich Institute, Rider University (moderator);
  • Ras Baraka, mayor, Newark;
  • Jon Bramnick, state senator;
  • Jack Ciattarelli, former assemblyman.

Quote of the day

“We had the CBT sunset — for a day.”

— New Jersey Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Bracken.