Businesses give thumbs down to N.J. governor’s proposed transit fee

March 1, 2024

When Gov. Phil Murphy unveiled his state budget earlier this week, he proposed a “corporate transit fee” for the state’s 600 most profitable corporations. The tax would raise close to $900,000 annually to subsidize New Jersey Transit.

James Hughes, Dean Emeritus of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University, said Murphy’s actions could influence how companies view New Jersey.

“It’s going to impact expansion plans or potential moves to New Jersey because it’s a very, very competitive national environment that we have to deal with,” he said.

Hughes noted that if the new tax is approved by the legislature, New Jersey would solidify its reputation as having the highest corporate business tax in the nation.

“It was a major disappointment, it was a surprise, and now it makes our job harder,” said Tom Bracken, the president and CEO of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce.

Hughes said he recognizes that New Jersey has the largest mass transit system in the nation and funds are needed to keep it going because ridership levels have not come back to pre-pandemic levels.

“The debate would be, ‘Do we use some of the (federal COVID-19) surplus to cover that? Do we maybe lessen contributions to the state pension plan?’ Those are the kinds of debates that can take place,” he said. “You have to look at this in a broader framework, looking also at expenditure levels.”

WHYY, March 1, 2024

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