Letter to Legislature: More than 40 chambers come together to oppose numerous new business taxes

Chamber Alliance, led by N.J. Chamber of Commerce, voices strong opposition to Corporate Transit Fee, ‘Buck-a-Truck’ proposal and numerous cuts to agencies that support economic growth

Trenton, New Jersey

There is the Corporate Transit Fee (which will hit the biggest companies), the “Buck-a-Truck” proposal (which will hurt the logistics industry) and cuts to the Economic Development Authority, Business Action Center and Small Business Development Centers (which will hurt everyone).

There is plenty in Gov. Phil Murphy’s proposed Fiscal Year 2025 budget that has the business community upset — that’s why the Chamber Alliance, a coalition convened by the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce and more than 40 of the state’s local and regional chambers of commerce, sent a letter to legislators Tuesday morning to express its serious opposition.

The coalition represents a substantial percentage of the state employers who believe these moves would damage New Jersey’s business climate, undermine the state’s corporate recruiting and retention efforts and jeopardize good-paying jobs.

Here are excerpts from the letter.

  • On the Corporate Transit Fee, which will impose a 2.5% tax on the state’s biggest companies to help support New Jersey Transit’s operating budget: “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 (Corporate Business Tax) surcharge. It is simply a more egregious and expensive extension of the surcharge.”
  • On the Buck-a-Truck initiative: “One of the fastest-growing segments of our economy, the logistics industry, is being slapped with what can only be described as a nuisance tax, which will increase costs for all New Jersey residents.”
  • On the cuts to the EDA, BAC and SBDC: “(These) state agencies (that) have been extremely helpful to the business community are having funding cuts. The budget will provide less support to an already overtaxed and overregulated business community.”

The group wrote: “The biggest threat to our state right now is the future of our economy. Right now, revenues are trending down, while expenses are going up. Yes, we have had several bond increases; yes, we have jumped to No. 19 in the CNBC ‘Best States for Doing Business’ poll, but none of that has been produced by a strong, growing, vibrant business climate. It was accomplished with Federal COVID dollars and bond proceeds.”

The group also offered alternatives:

“Look no further than what the bond rating agencies said in all of their reports,” the letter said. “We must create recurring, reliable, organic, growth-oriented sources of income to continue to maintain the economic prosperity of New Jersey.

“The only way to do that is through a growing, vibrant and attractive business economy. This budget is in opposition to all of that. It begins to reverse the economic momentum we have. It also hurts our reputation as a business-friendly state. It also creates a lack of confidence for our business leaders that the state will not follow through on commitments they have made. And, it makes our state more expensive and less competitive.”

The coalition issued the following recommendations:

  1. Reinvest the $6 billion surplus, as opposed to letting it sit idle: We should use this money before adding new taxes.
  2. Remove the Corporate Transit Fee: The $1 billion can easily be found in a $56 billion budget through a surgical approach looking at all budget categories. An additional tax on corporate revenue is not a stable source of funding.
  3. Eliminate the Buck-a-Truck tax: It is a $10 million add to the budget, in a $56 billion budget. The funds raised from this tax will be a drop in the bucket and will undermine economic growth.
  4. Restore funding: To the Economic Development Authority, the Business Action Center and the Small Business Development Centers.

The letter concluded: “Our economic future needs to be addressed in this budget. As currently stated, it is void of that. This is an opportunity that we cannot waste.

“This business community has been asking for these things for years, and we need to begin to look at ways to fund those. We must pivot to begin to create a stronger economy. You cannot grow anything unless you feed it. We are not only not feeding the business community, we are starving it.

“With that in mind, we urge you to oppose these proposed measures in the budget and support measures that will strengthen the business community, ultimately strengthening New Jersey.”

The letter was signed by New Jersey Chamber CEO Tom Bracken, New Jersey Chamber Vice President of Government Relations Mike Egenton and co-signed by the following organizations:

  • African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey
  • Asian Indian Chamber of Commerce
  • Burlington County Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • Cape May County Chamber of Commerce
  • Capital Region Minority Chamber of Commerce
  • Central New Jersey Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey
  • Cliffside Park Chamber of Commerce
  • Cranford Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Eastern Monmouth Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Gateway Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • Gloucester County Chamber of Commerce
  • Greater Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce
  • Greater Ocean Township Chamber of Commerce
  • Greater Toms River Chamber of Commerce
  • Greater Union Township Chamber of Commerce
  • Greater Vineland Chamber of Commerce
  • Greater Woodbury Chamber of Commerce
  • Ho-Ho-Kus Chamber of Commerce
  • Hudson County Chamber of Commerce
  • Hunterdon County Chamber of Commerce
  • Jersey Shore Chamber of Commerce
  • Livingston Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Mahwah Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • Matawan-Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce
  • Meadowlands Chamber of Commerce
  • Monmouth Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • Morris County Chamber of Commerce
  • New Jersey Pride Chamber of Commerce
  • New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce
  • New Jersey State Veterans Chamber of Commerce
  • North New Jersey Chamber of Commerce
  • Ocean City Chamber of Commerce
  • Princeton-Mercer Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • Rutherford Chamber of Commerce
  • Salem County Chamber of Commerce
  • Somerset County Business Partnership
  • Suburban Chamber of Commerce
  • Sussex County Chamber of Commerce
  • The Great Westfield Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Waldwick Chamber of Commerce