One of Governor Chris Christie’s major initiatives is the revitalization of Atlantic City, New Jersey’s top tourist destination. A bill to give a tax break to bus companies to continue taking passengers to Atlantic City and other New Jersey tourism locales was approved today by an Assembly panel.

The measure would prohibit the imposition of the corporation business tax on out-of-state corporations whose only contact with New Jersey is carrying passengers into the state in a motor vehicle or bus to a destination in the state, and the return of those passengers to a location outside the state.

“We all know this difficult economy has been tough on our tourism industry, and applying corporate business taxes to companies doing nothing more than brining tourists into our state makes no sense at all,” says Assemblyman Matt Milam, one of the bill’s three sponsors. “We should be encouraging out-of-state companies to bring people into our state, not taxing them for doing so.”

A 2002 law extended the reach of the New Jersey corporation business tax to a corporation that derives income from New Jersey sources, explicitly expanding the reach of the tax to the full extent permitted under the United States Constitution and federal statute. This bill would limit the corporation business tax so it is not imposed on a corporation whose only connection with the state is the delivery of passengers to a location in the state.

Bill co-sponsor, Assemblyman Nelson Albano says, “Since the state began collecting taxes on tour bus operators, operators bringing visitors to New Jersey have suspended or threatened to suspend future trips into the state. The loss of tax revenues resulting from this bill would be offset by the sales and use tax and the casino revenue tax generated by tour bus visitors that spend money in this state.”

“Applying this tax this way has been bad for economic development, tourism and job creation in our state,” explains Assemblyman John Burzichelli. “It’s the complete opposite of what we should be doing, so this bill is a long-needed step in the right direction.”