Halloween decorations, costumes and candy abound in stores this month, as do scary movies and TV specials, including the family favorite, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.”
One of the most iconic scenes from this 57-year-old Peanuts Halloween classic is when Lucy offers to hold a football for Charlie Brown to kick, even giving him a signed document promising not to trick him by pulling the ball away as he runs toward it. As we all know, at the last minute, Lucy yanks away the football anyway and Charlie Brown ends up flat on his back (again).
The business community is thinking about that Charlie Brown Halloween scene now as we approach the “lame duck” part of the legislative session. We have a request for policymakers: Don’t pull the football away and stop New Jersey from celebrating positive developments.
To be sure, the business community had plenty to be alarmed about in recent years – the COVID-19 pandemic, workforce shortages, and the high inflation in 2021 and 2022. Now, just as the situation is starting to improve, we face that scary time of year when a lot of legislative mischief can occur – the lame duck period after the November election when lawmakers who are leaving in 2024 remain in office until new members take over in January.
Historically, lame duck periods are unpredictable because officeholders who do not have to face the voters again have been known to support questionable legislation. This is why the business community is urging the Legislature not to use this upcoming lame duck period to pass any anti-business mandates or cost increases on businesses.
Gov. Phil Murphy and the Legislature have recently shown they understand that businesses that have survived a pandemic, workforce shortages and record-high inflation needed a break, which is why we have seen some good news of late: right-sizing corporate taxes, increased fiscal responsibility and positive investments through our state budget, teen worker reform, new small business resources and a focus on affordability.
We cannot go backward from these encouraging developments. The business community cannot afford any tax increases or more expensive mandates reversing economic momentum. State government must not allow itself to become Lucy, pulling the football away from business at the last moment despite previous pledges not to do so.
We cannot let the current legislative session end like a scary Halloween movie, where we are startled out of our seats just when we thought calm had been restored and disaster averted. The scariness of the pandemic and the related hardships businesses endured are in the past. We are asking New Jersey policymakers to not be like Lucy van Pelt with the football by pulling the positive momentum out from beneath the business community.
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