Bracken Seeks State Economic Master Plan Going Forward to Avoid Recurrence of Present Conditions

Tom Bracken, President of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, Trenton recognizes the reality of a tax hike in the incipient 2019 State Budget, but he wants lawmakers to consider the development of what he calls an economic master plan to avoid a repetition of the state’s current downbeat circumstances.

Bracken opposes Senate President Steve Sweeney’s (D-3) proposal to increase the Corporation Business Tax (CBT), arguing that it would negatively impact New Jersey’s affordability and competitive standing, and exacerbate the state’s outmigration problem.

He testified yesterday on the matter.

“Despite our objections and the evidence we presented to support our case, it is clear the state Legislature must find new sources of revenue for the 2019 budget,” said Bracken. “Unfortunately, that means either a CBT increase or a ‘millionaire’s tax’ will be the funding source.”

He doesn’t like that, either, which is now the preference of Governor Phil Murphy.

Recognizing that either the CBT or millionaire’s tax option will prevail as lawmakers haggle in Trenton, Bracken said he is urging them going forward “to partner with us to create an overdue Economic Master Plan that lays out a clear, long-term path to economic growth so that this year’s ‘step backward’ can be put in the context of starting New Jersey down a path to a better economic future.”  

Legislators from both sides of the aisle reacted positively to the idea, he said.

“On a related note, we further need our legislators to commit to rejecting irresponsible fiscal initiatives that have gotten us into this fiscal dilemma,” Bracken added. “Assemblyman John McKeon has introduced legislation (A-4176) that would enhance pensions for certain office holders. The timing and content of this bill is difficult to understand in our current budget situation. All it does is enhance pension payments for ‘double dippers’ and further deepen the already huge deficit in the state’s pension system.”

Referring specifically to that bill, Bracken added, “This kind of legislative insanity must stop!” 

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