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Legislative Updates

CCSNJ Weighs in on FY2025 State Budget

On Tuesday, March 19 and Wednesday, March 20 the Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey(CCSNJ) provided comments at two public hearings on the FY2025 state budget, as proposed by Governor Phil Murphy. The Senate hearing took place at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) in Newark and the Assembly hearing took place in Trenton, during which Budget Committee members heard comments from the public on the budget proposal and provided suggestions on how it can be improved.

Christina M. Renna, President & CEO provided testimony at both hearings. In her remarks, she noted that for the past several budget cycles, the CCSNJ has warned Committee members that the enormous increase in state spending – a 61 percent increase since 2018 - would eventually lead to tax increases or severe budget cuts, unless new, dedicated revenue streams were identified. Unfortunately, Ms. Renna stated, that prediction has become a reality in the FY2025 budget.

Ms. Renna went on to note what she called “the four-pronged attack on New Jersey businesses” and detailed why some of the proposals disproportionally impact South Jersey.

First, she explained that the 2.5 percent Corporate Transit Fee to fund NJ Transit is simply bad public policy and a reversal from the Governor, who was steadfast in his commitment to seeing the Corporate Business surcharge sunset on January 1 of this year. Ms. Renna went on to say that a 2.5 percent increase on South Jersey businesses that are already paying a 9 percent CBT rate, and have limited access to NJ Transit services, is intrinsically unfair. In short, the state is asking businesses located in the southern portion of the state to pay for a transportation system they desperately wish their employees had access to, but do not due to NJ Transit’s limited presence in the region.

Next, Ms. Renna discussed a proposed $1 trucking fee, which would be imposed on trucks that depart from warehouses throughout the state. She stated that this new tax is counterproductive to the growing logistics, distribution and warehousing industries in New Jersey, which are regularly touted by Governor Murphy and Choose New Jersey as industries of opportunity in the state. Specifically, South Jersey, which is home to many of these industries and is often suggested as the ideal location for companies in these spaces, would be especially harmed should this tax go into place.

Ms. Renna then went on to discuss cuts to the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) Main Street Recovery Fund in the state budget. She explained that this program has been a crucial incentive program for small businesses since the start of the pandemic with a large portion of funding going to women- and minority-owned businesses, as well as microbusinesses. She urged the Committees to reconsider this cut, which will directly impact small business’ ability to access capital and grow.

Lastly, Ms. Renna discussed the cuts to two critically important resources for small businesses and entrepreneurs in New Jersey. Both the New Jersey Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) and the New Jersey Business Action Center are slated to have their budgets cut in FY2025. Both entities help small and mid-sized small businesses with everything from business counseling services to helping businesses maneuver state government processes. These cuts hit the heart of the state’s mom-and-pop and Main Street businesses and must be restored as New Jersey’s downtowns continue to rebound from the pandemic.

The CCSNJ will continue to monitor the budget hearings throughout the month of April, which will focus on the various state departments and Treasury’s revenue estimates. The legislature will then present their budget in June with a deadline of June 30th to identify a compromise budget with Governor Murphy.

The CCSNJ will keep you updated as important information is shared and will continue to weigh in on budget negotiations when appropriate.

To read the CCSNJ’s full testimony, click here.

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For any Government-related comments, questions or suggestions please contact:

Hilary Chebra

Manager, Government Affairs, CCSNJ

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