NJBIA CEO on the Impact of the 2020 Budget on NJ Businesses
Steve Adubato sits down with Michele N. Siekerka, Esq., President & CEO, New Jersey Business & Industry Association, to talk about New Jersey’s tax incentive programs, the recent hike in minimum wage and the impact the FY2020 budget has on the state’s economy.
"We are pleased to welcome, here on Think Tank, I believe for the first time, Michele Siekerka, President and CEO of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association. Good to see you. Great to see you. First time on Think Tank? It is. You've been on some of our sister programs, if you will. Yes. Michele, get right into tax policy. You and your colleagues examine these issues, try to get a sense of where the business community is, where are we on taxes in New Jersey versus the rest of the nation? Oh, significantly challenged. We have the highest tax structure in the country. What does tax structure mean? So it's a combination of things. It's income tax, corporate business tax, sales tax, I mean go right down property tax. It's... anything that we can touch in New Jersey we tend to tax. And of course that makes us a very expensive state. The cost of doing business, as well as affordability, livability, quality of life, all those things play into this. Governor Murphy says, "You know, we need tax fairness. We need to increase taxes on millionaires for the first dollar you earn after a million dollars. It's the only way we're gonna fund the programs that we can't fund right now." You say? Not sustainable. I mean, you can look at anyone who studies economics and says a millionaire's tax is not sustainable. As soon as you hit... What do you mean, sustainable? Well, you hit a bump in your economic process, like a recession, and you can't count on that money. So you need more broad-based taxes are sustainable. Taxes that go like this, as opposed to like horizontal versus vertical. Okay? A millionaire's tax is vertical. And it's very susceptible to a bad economy, number one. Number two, we don't have a revenue problem in the state of New Jersey, we have a spending problem. And if we don't go back and do the real, structural reform to the things that are holding us back as a state, then every dollar of new revenue we bring in, it's just like opening up the window with the air... Be specific. ...conditioning on, and letting things go right out. Pension. You know? We have a broken pension system. Steve, I am not saying, "Do not give people what they earned over all these years." You're talking about public employees? Public employee pension. Yes. Every year, the cost goes up another one, two, three billion dollars, okay? We do not have that money into the future. We are staring at a fiscal cliff in the state of New Jersey. Over the last ten years, we have increased the debt in this state 382 percent..."