As we celebrate the holiday season across New Jersey, businesses aren’t counting on a Christmas miracle, but they are hoping a plan moves forward to give them some financial relief.

Bearing in mind the Garden State is consistently ranked as having the worst, most difficult business climate in America, New Jersey Assemblyman Gerry Scharfenberger, R-Monmouth, has introduced a measure to lower the state's 9% corporate business tax.

“This bill would cut it initially to 7.5%, and the two and a half percent surcharge that was added onto taxpayers with corporate tax liabilities would be eliminated with this bill,” he said.

Much needed relief

Scharfenberger pointed out “that would give businesses a tremendous shot in the arm here, and also be more of an enticement for businesses to move into New Jersey.”

He said this would be an important step in the right direction for the Garden State.

“I think it would send a signal to businesses that we’re trying to make New Jersey more business friendly and improve the business climate here.”

The legislation comes on the heels of unprecedented costs for businesses.

“Businesses are facing increased energy costs, increased labor costs, so the least we can do is try to cut the corporate business tax to make it a little bit more tax friendly,” Scharfenberger said.

Victoria Gnatiuk GettyImages
Victoria Gnatiuk GettyImages

Will Democrats go along with it?

Scharfenberger, who’s a Republican, said he's hoping the bill will be a bi-partisan effort.

“We’re hoping to get some Democratic co-sponsors certainly. I think they would have to acknowledge the climate here, the business climate here in New Jersey is so bad that we really have to do something.”

He says the issue isn't a partisan one.

"Employers and employment is something that cross-cuts party lines.”

He stressed instead of talk, action on this issue is needed right away.

“I’ve spoken to several of my Democratic colleagues offline and they are supportive of the idea, now we just have to get some momentum for the bill all around,” he said.

“We need to do everything we can to improve the business climate in our state.”

The measure stipulates the franchise tax rate imposed on the net income of a corporation that is not an S corporation or a partnership with an entire net income of more than $100,000 would be lowered for a privilege period from 9% to 7.5% for five corporate tax years, while also repealing the corporation business surtax.

The measure has been referred to the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee for consideration

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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