N.J. Chamber executive vice president Michael Egenton speaks at a roundtable forum Oct. 19 at the State House on the reauthorization of the state's Transportation Trust Fund.
Gov. Chris Christie and the Legislature adopted positive and transformational legislation that invests $16 billion in road and mass transit upgrades over the next eight years; and reforms the state’s tax codes, including something that the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce has long fought for - the phasing out of New Jersey’s estate tax.
"For too long, New Jersey has been one of only two states in the nation with both an estate tax and an inheritance tax," said Tom Bracken, president and CEO of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce. "That double taxation is a reason why many executives leave New Jersey before they retire; and why they think twice before moving or expanding their companies here. The result has been a loss of income tax revenue and a loss of jobs for the people of New Jersey."
"This tax reform sends a clear signal that New Jersey is open for business," Bracken added.
The transportation funding also benefits business and commuters since it will allow the state to upgrade roads, bridges and tunnels, as well as modernize its airports and expand the capacity of its ports.
"By investing in our transportation infrastructure, our members know that they can get their employees to work on time and goods and services where they need to be on time," said Michael Egenton, executive vice president of the N.J. Chamber.
More good transportation news came on Election Day with the passage of Ballot Question 2, which makes it a mandate, under the state Constitution, to use all revenue from the recently enacted gas tax for transportation projects. This ends a State House practice the N.J. Chamber has long fought: the shifting of gas tax money away from transportation infrastructure to pay for other initiatives.
Sales and Income Tax Cuts
Other important tax reform in this legislation includes a reduction in the state sales tax, and much needed income tax cuts for seniors, veterans and low income workers.
"All of this legislation goes a long way toward restoring the state’s long-term economic health,” Egenton said, “and making New Jersey a more affordable place to work, to live and to retire.”
The New Jersey Chamber of Commerce thanks Gov. Christie for signing the landmark legislation, and both Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto for their bipartisan leadership in making the legislation possible.
We also acknowledge and thank Sens. Paul Sarlo and Steve Oroho for their effective work in originating the legislation, and Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald and Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick for helping guide the bills to final passage.
Finally, we thank the members of the Senate and Assembly from both parties who voted for this legislation and did what is right for New Jersey.