Executing A Business Focused Advocacy Agenda
In 2015, business advocacy efforts by the Greater Atlantic City Chamber are focused on and aligned with the Chamber’s support for:
- Improving Atlantic City’s and Atlantic County’s investment climate and business competitiveness
- Advocating for improved efficiency and cost of services by public sector entities
- Working to attract new businesses and visitors
- Addressing social services issues in the Tourism District
- Supporting general business-friendly legislation for the Greater Atlantic City Region
Atlantic City financial study: The Chamber continues to engage financial consultants to analyze and assist with much needed recommendations for reforming the city’s financial management and cost related issues. The Chamber funded study by HJA Strategies, which has served as a blueprint for reducing city government and reducing costs for residents and business.
North Jersey Gaming Expansion: The Chamber has played a leading role in opposing the expansion of gambling to other parts of New Jersey, commissioning a study and performing outreach to educate legislators and policymakers statewide, while enlisting other organizations in our efforts to oppose gaming outside Atlantic City.
Renewal of Transportation Trust Fund: The Chamber remains part of the ForwardNJ Coalition which is seeking to address the replenishment of the Transportation Trust Fund. Polls are indicating that NJ residents oppose increasing the gas tax. The Chamber surveyed its members to gauge the member’s view on the issue as the basis for our position on the issue.
Chamber Economic Development: The Chamber formed an economic development committee in an effort to proactively drive incentive legislation and other changes in development rules and regulatory actions. The Chamber has sponsored many economic development updates/forums during 2015 that assisted and supported the establishment of the Atlantic County Economic Development Alliances, We will continue to be the portal for information sharing related to development efforts for businesses in our marketplace. The Chamber sponsored an Economic Development Update on April 22 at Stockton Carnegie Library
Candidates Forum: On October 22, the Chamber hosted its annual Candidates Forum at the Tropicana. The speakers included County Executive Dennis Levinson, Assemblymen Chris Brown and Vince Mazzeo, Assembly candidates Colin Bell and Will Pauls, Freeholders Jim Bertino, Frank Formica, Freeholder candidates John DiMaria, Tom Willett and Brenda Braithwaite, Surrogate Jim Curcio and Surrogate candidate Jim Carney. Over sixty members and guests attended and the forum was streamed live by the Atlantic City Press to an audience of over 1,300 viewers.
Chamber Support for Tax Stabilization: The Chamber supported efforts to stabilize taxes in Atlantic City. The goal continues to be to eliminate appeals by casinos while striking the right balance on timing issues, the percentages paid to the county and the formula for taxing. Legislative leaders continue to work on these and other issues. The Chamber would welcome the opportunity to be part of this dialogue and will share information with the business community as it becomes available.
Active Chamber Supported Legislative Efforts
Assembly Bill No: A4072
Summary: Extends eligibility to participate in Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit (NRTC) Program to areas located in municipality in which casino gaming is authorized. This bill extends the Neighborhood Revitalization State Tax Credit Program to municipalities in which casino gaming is authorized and certain adjacent areas. Current eligible municipalities are those that receive special state aid or have a school district designated as among the poorest in the state. Business entities that invest in the revitalization of low and moderate-income neighborhoods in eligible municipalities qualify to receive a tax credit against various State taxes. The program offers business entities a 100 percent tax credit against various state taxes. An entity receiving the tax credit must use 60 percent of the tax credit funds for activities related to the development of housing and increased economic activity.
Senate Bill Number: S2775
Summary: This bill increases the amount credited annually to the Shore Protection Fund to $50 million. The South Jersey coastal region relies on its beaches and waterways as one of its primary tourism economy attractions.
- Shore Protection is underfunded and will not be able to meet the increasing costs of beach protection projects.
- Beaches are an economic driver in New Jersey’s Tourism economy and need critical protection and replenishment.
- Under a unique cost-sharing partnership, the federal government has provided 65% of the cost of beach replenishment projects to the State’s 35% investment. New Jersey must be prepared to meet its share of future costs to protect this partnership.
South Jersey Gas Pipeline: In October, Chamber Staff made public comments in support of the company’s application before the New jersey Board of Public Utilities for approval of a pipeline running between Maurice River Township, Cumberland County and Upper Township in Cape May County. The pipeline would provide fuel supply to the B.L. England plant and serve as backup capacity for gas customers in Cape May County and parts of Atlantic County.
Increasing Minimum Wage: Assembly Bill A3912 (Gusciora, Oliver) which permits municipalities and other political subdivisions to set higher minimum wage rates by resolution or ordinance than those state-wide mandated minimum wages currently in effect.
Proposed Millionaires Tax: Chamber President Joe Kelly joined business leaders and legislators recently in Trenton to warn that a proposal to increase state income taxes would hurt New Jersey’s economy and job growth, and would chase high income wage earners to more tax friendly states like Florida and Pennsylvania. This was in response to a proposal to raise the state income tax on those that make more than $1 million and assess a 15 percent increase on the corporation business tax as a way to help the state balance its budget for fiscal year 2016, which begins July 1. The Chamber supports a more business friendly long term solution to the state’s fiscal problems.
Paid Sick Leave: The Legislature, in response to opposition from the Greater Atlantic City Chamber and other business groups, held a bill scheduled for a vote that provided for earned sick leave for all workers. The bill would require all employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees, allowing up to nine days off with the ability carry forward up to 72 hours of leave. The leave would apply to care not only for an employee illness, but would also apply to extended family members and the extended family of the employee’s spouse. The Chamber position, along with others, was that a one size fits all approach to a perceived problem does not take into account the effects on different industries, the ability of businesses to comply with the mandate or the existing programs already in place by many companies.