The New Jersey Business and Industry Association today urged legislators to reject a proposed constitutional amendment (SCR-84/ACR-130) dedicating 6 percent of all Corporate Business Tax revenues towards open space preservation. Using the constitution to dedicate Corporate Business Tax revenues for any single purpose, no matter how laudable, will lock New Jersey into a permanent funding obligation that ties its hands for decades to come.
“Right now, New Jersey is facing a serious budget crisis, to the point where some legislators want to increase taxes, including the Corporate Business Tax,” said NJBIA Vice President Sara Bluhm.
“This bill would make the state’s financial problems even more severe by removing an important revenue stream from the general budget.
Dedicating this money by constitutional amendment will lock the state into a long-term dedication of funding that would be extremely difficult to reverse,” Bluhm said. “This proposed constitutional amendment is simply a bad idea.”
The current constitutional dedication of 4 percent of the Corporation Business Tax revenue helps pay for programs within the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) including: water resources programs and projects, polluted site cleanups, underground tank removal and cleanup, air pollution equipment for diesel engines, and improvements to parks. The proposed constitutional amendment alters the distribution of dedicated funds among the several environmental purposes beginning in Fiscal Year 2016 and focuses on open space.
In Fiscal Year 2020, the amount would be increased from 4 percent to 6 percent of the CBT. This means that an additional 2 percent which is currently in the general fund and being utilized for other programs would be dedicated to open space.