What does the New Jersey business community want for Christmas this year? How about a big box of balance under the tree?
We don’t expect to come downstairs and see a bunch of gifts that take all our taxes away. New Jersey will continue to be a higher-tax and higher-cost state. Similarly, no one really expects Santa Claus to make our environmental and labor regulations magically disappear. Nor should he get rid of those rules that play an important role in safeguarding the people of New Jersey.
What we do want to find under the Christmas tree in 2022, the year our business community is finally returning to normalcy after a few very tough pandemic years, is a big box of balance.
New Jersey should stop being the worst in the nation on taxes and seek policy solutions that fix where we are outliers. It is unrealistic to jump from last place to first in tax competitiveness, but aiming for middle-of-the-pack is a practical goal that would help business quite a bit.
We do not expect New Jersey taxes to ever be the lowest in the nation, but we should not continue to have the highest corporate tax rate. At 11.5%, it is the only double-digit corporate tax rate among the 50 states. And, while we know we will never have low property taxes in New Jersey, policymakers should avoid constantly making our ever-escalating property taxes worse.
We want to protect our employees with appropriate regulations to make sure they are not taken advantage of, but we should not have rules that go beyond what every state in the nation provides, putting New Jersey businesses at a competitive disadvantage.
We agree there should be environmental justice and some protections against climate threats, but it should be done by investing in wind, solar and other green energy without imposing costly and unpractical mandates that limit job creation in urban areas and make our already expensive energy more costly.
That big box of balance under the tree should include: allowing the corporate business tax surtax to sunset to lower the rate to a still-high 9%; small business tax relief in the form of easing the drastic unemployment insurance payroll tax hikes; amendments to onerous labor mandates circulating in the Legislature so that we protect workers without hurting business; and changes to environmental rules to reflect stakeholder input that considers the need to protect the environment while still creating jobs.
And, if it is not too much to ask, a bow on that box of balance would be having New Jersey policymakers prioritize business affordability and job creation.
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