Testimony Given to the Senate Transportation Committee by CIANJ Director of Government Affairs, Tony Perry Against S-2892
September 13, 2018
Good morning Chairman Diegnan and members of the committee. My name is Tony Perry from the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey (CIANJ). CIANJ is a statewide business group, with offices in Paramus and Trenton advocating for the interests of more than 900 members from virtually every business sector (manufacturing, hospitality, financial, insurance, academia, healthcare, etc.).
I am here today in opposition to Senate Bill 2892. Although CIANJ has great respect for the sponsor of the bill, Senate President Sweeney, it should be noted that businesses have left and are leaving New Jersey in part because of the anti-business climate which exists. New Jersey is viewed as a high tax state and following this year’s budget process which included an increase in the Corporate Business Tax, that view has worsened. We cannot afford to continue to tax our businesses and ask them to shoulder the responsibility of funding programs and initiatives in the state. In an effort to increase wages and add additional private sector jobs, we must reduce the cost of doing business in New Jersey. Investment will go where it is welcomed and a bill like this sends the wrong message to the business community.
The Commerce and Industry Association opposes the bill for the following reasons:
- This legislation targets United Airlines, which employs more than 14,000 direct employees and tens of thousands of indirect jobs which makes them the sixth largest employer in the state. If United Airlines is targeted, who is next?
- While this legislation would create new transportation to Newark Liberty International Airport, the company has already spent more than $400 million in investments to the airport in the last two years alone and those investments have topped $2 billion since 2000.
- Those investments I mentioned are on top of the $430 million in rent and fee United Airlines already pays annually to Newark Liberty International Airport.
- The legislation would also grow New Jersey’s regional disadvantage. Altering our tax structure would ultimately incentivize the airline to have flights take off and land at New York airports.
- It has also been suggested that a loophole or exemption exists, but it should be noted that United Airlines pays the same jet fuel tax rate as all other airlines that service New Jersey.
- Finally, with Amazon looking to build its HQ2 and Newark considered as a finalist — we should understand that the search committee tasked with choosing the location will be watching the actions of the state governments. Transportation and infrastructure will be critical to any search committee’s decision and we should not purposely place ourselves at a disadvantage.
The work of this legislature should not be to provide New York state with more revenue but to bring jobs here to NJ and increase our regional competitiveness.
For these reasons, we respectfully urge committee members to vote no on the bill. Thanks you.