Whether you like his policies or not, President Trump is trying to take the federal government in a much different direction that will likely have significant impacts on business. For the next four years, NJBIA will be paying much closer attention to the actions of the federal government and analyzing how they will affect us in New Jersey.
NJBIA has always followed legislation coming out of Washington and its impact on our members, but with the recent executive orders on regulations and healthcare, along with the prospect of major tax reform legislation, it is more important than ever to keep members informed of those developments. That’s why we launched the Federal Affairs Issue Network. You can sign up for it at http://njbia.org/advocacy/policy-committee-sign/.
In the meantime, here are some of the issues we are keeping our eyes on.
Regulations. President Trump has signed executive orders freezing regulations and requiring agencies to eliminate two existing regulations for each new regulation they enact. Freezing regulations is a standard practice for any new administration, but in this case, the freeze also includes guidance documents – those recommendations on how to comply with regulations that do not have the force of law, but which businesses ignore at their peril. Guidance documents do not receive the same public scrutiny as regulations, but given their impact, they deserve to.
The freeze could also mean significant changes for the US Labor Department’s overtime rule restricting the use of salaried employees and new pay data disclosure requirements set to be put in place by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Healthcare. The leadership of both houses and the Trump administration have expressed their commitment to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. For his part, Trump has ordered agencies to “waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation of any provision” of the ACA that would impose fiscal burdens on people.
For NJBIA members, the cost of healthcare has long been their biggest obstacle. The big question now is “How will any changes to the ACA impact New Jersey?”
Taxes. During the campaign, Trump pledged to cut the corporate tax rate to 15 percent, but few details have been put forth. The chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, which is where any tax reform legislation would start, has proposed capping the income tax rate of pass-through entities at 25 percent. This would be a tremendous benefit for LLCs, S corporations, partnerships and sole proprietors. These ideas are the result of a task force on tax reform that issued a comprehensive tax reform proposal in June.
Trade. Trump wasted little time taking action on his campaign promises, signing an executive order pulling the United States out of negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact. He has also pledged to make changes to NAFTA as well as trade policy with China.
Foreign trade is an important part of New Jersey’s economy, with companies exporting more than $32 billion in goods per year. Foreign trade zones and our large shipping port system play a big role in our economic well-being, so what happens with trade nationally is going to impact New Jersey locally.
NJBIA’s goal with federal issues is to keep member companies informed of important developments that may not make it into a newspaper’s business page. If the first few weeks are any indication, we’re going to have a lot to report over the next four years.