Date: June 15, 2016

Related Content: News Economy New Jersey Taxes


TRENTON (June 15, 2016): The National Federation of
Independent Business (NFIB) joined Senators Beck and Doherty today at a press
conference in opposition to the gas tax increase included in a bipartisan bill
unveiled earlier this week to fund the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF). NFIB
has been the only business group to vocally
oppose the gas tax hike and publically support the outspoken Senators.
With other tax incentives included in the bill, NFIB balloted its members to
determine their position on the legislation.

“We were overwhelmed when 85% of the members that responded
to our poll regarding this bill were opposed to it. We have heard from restaurateurs, transportation companies and
those in the tourism industry about the detrimental impact that doubling the gas tax will have on their
small business,” according to NFIB New
Jersey state director, Laurie Ehlbeck. “Therefore, NFIB is unequivocally and
unapologetically opposed to the astronomical increase regardless of what else is included in the bill.  What proponents of the legislation are failing
to understand is that they are creating more problems for the small business
community than they are solving.” 

The official bill language for replenishment of the TTF has
yet to be revealed but lawmakers have
highlighted parts of it that include a phase-out
of the estate tax in 2019 as well as other tax reform ideas that are sorely
needed.  Unfortunately,
the long-term tax benefits are vastly
overshadowed by the immediate harm doubling the gas tax will cause to the small
business community. Dan Malay of How You Brewin Coffee Co. on Long Beach Island
was one of the first to respond to NFIB’s member inquiry regarding the bill.

“Doubling the gas tax would have a significant impact on
local businesses throughout my region. LBI is a destination location that
relies almost exclusively on tourism. 
Increasing the cost of a gallon of gasoline would profoundly impact the traveling
habits of visitors and vacationers that we rely so heavily on,” continued Malay. “Raising the gas tax to
offset other taxes is bad tax policy for a state whose coastal regions rely so
heavily on tourist-related revenue.  The gas
tax generated increase in revenue will be offset by a loss in sales tax
revenue, simply because people will have less to spend and will travel less to
the shore to spend it.”

NFIB, unlike other business organizations, ballots their
members on key issues to determine the type of stance to take on new policy
initiatives. With thousands of members in New Jersey, at times the membership can appear divided on
which direction the state should go in. The TTF bill was certainly not one of
those times.

“We’ve been advocating for the types of tax reform included
in this bill for a long time, and when we
balloted members, I wondered if the
tradeoff would be worth it for them. I was overwhelmed with the response that
we received and cannot remember when the last time an issue garnered this much
feedback from our members,” continued Ehlbeck. “When 85% of respondents are
opposed to a bill, it tells you that something is very wrong.”

Senators Beck and Doherty have been the only Senators to vocally oppose the bill which Governor
Christie has said publically does not do nearly enough to create tax fairness
in the state whose business climate was found to be the worst in the nation by
the Tax Foundation.

“Our members are deeply grateful for the leadership of both
Senator Beck and Senator Doherty. Their willingness to vocally oppose this bill
when their colleagues are unwilling to do so must be difficult for them but they have demonstrated to the small
business community that they govern with courage and conviction. Our members
will not forget their commitment to protecting the taxpayers of New Jersey and raising the bar for lawmakers across
the state to do better,” concluded Ehlbeck.

Related Content: News | Economy | New Jersey | Taxes

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