On March 10, CCSNJ President & CEO Christina Renna provided testimony during the Assembly Budget Committee’s public hearing on the FY2022 State Budget as proposed by Governor Phil Murphy. The CCSNJ was the only South Jersey business organization to weigh in on the $44.8 billion proposal that is now under consideration by the Legislature and must be finalized by the June 30 deadline. In her remarks, Ms. Renna stated that the proposed budget contains many good “talking points” but unfortunately, does not address the state’s overall affordability crisis. The $44.8 billion budget relies heavily on federal COVID-19 assistance and $4.3 billion in borrowing by state government, which the CCSNJ opposed last fall. As a result, the overall spending in the budget is much higher than normal and not sustainable long-term, which can only lead to higher taxes in the future.
However, Ms. Renna noted that the CCSNJ was still pleased to see the proposed budget did not include any new or increased taxes or fees for FY2022, the first time during the Murphy Administration that tax increases were not a part of the budget proposal. Given the impact that the pandemic has had on residents, businesses and overall economy the CCSNJ stated that it would not be the time to raise taxes and appreciates the Governor’s recognition of this fact.
Additionally, in her testimony Ms. Renna commended the Administration for the $200 million appropriation to the NJ Wind Port, which will be located in Salem County and bring with it thousands of new jobs and millions in new economic activity once completed. She also acknowledged the importance of adding an additional $50 million to the Main Street Recovery Program, targeted to help small businesses impacted by the pandemic, and the inclusion of a $269 million allocation in charity care funding, as well as the one year $10 million allocation to assist hospitals with pandemic-related costs.
Still, Ms. Renna stated that there was a severe lack of substantive reforms – much like those included in the Path to Progress report – that can help New Jersey’s affordability crisis. Specifically, she cited the need for the state to explore further consolidation efforts of state, county, municipal and school governments, which could generate true savings much like those seen in Gloucester County during FY2018, which saved upwards of $21 million dollars. She concluded her testimony by stating that the CCSNJ hopes to see the Legislature consider further aid to the small business community as negotiations continue, while continuing to pursue cost-savings reforms that will lead to a more affordable state for New Jersey residents and businesses.
The CCSNJ is slated to testify before the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee at its pubic hearing on the FY2022 State Budget on March 16.
To read the CCSNJ full written testimony on the FY2022 State Budget, click here. Should you have any questions, please contact Hilary Chebra, Manager of Government Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org.