Bergen blasts NJBIA for sales tax increase advocacy

Bergen blasts NJBIA for sales tax increase advocacy

Assemblyman Brian Bergen

TRENTON, N.J. – Assemblyman Brian Bergen challenged the NJBIA’s policy positions and attacked its advocacy efforts on Wednesday after they suggested an increase in the state sales tax rate to 7% as a solution to NJ Transit’s budget deficit.

During a press conference on Tuesday, Michele Siekerka, president of NJBIA, discussed finding a dedicated revenue source for NJ Transit, because the group opposes the corporate transit fee proposed by Gov. Phil Murphy.

She told reporters, “There is the opportunity to go back to that seven [percent sales tax] because we are in the realm of it and dedicate that amount.”

“Offering an increase in the sales tax as a solution to NJ Transit problems is moronic,” said Bergen (R-Morris). “In a time when people are struggling, raising taxes of any kind is crazy talk. The sales tax in particular affects every person and has a disproportionate impact on lower income families. Anyone who thinks this is a good idea should have their head examined.”

On Wednesday morning, the group attempted to clarify its position. NJBIA put out a statement saying it supports dedicating sales tax revenue increases to NJ Transit and not an increase in the sales tax rate.

“The NJBIA’s clarification was a lousy attempt to paper over what its president said, making me wonder what other harmful proposals get offered when the cameras aren’t rolling. The NJBIA is completely ineffective in advocacy. They have been excluded during Republican and Democrat administrations. Businesses join the NJBIA for different reasons, competence in advocacy is not one of them,” Bergen said.