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August 27, 2020
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 Inside this issue
  Executive Directors Message  

On Tuesday, Governor Murphy proposed a nearly $40 billion budget, roughly the same as is normally spent per year and which, as we predicted, called for several tax increases. Of the most importance to our members, the cigarette tax is likely to see a 61% increase from $2.70 to $4.35 a pack, a $1.65 difference. This will bring the cigarette tax up to the same level as New York state and Connecticut, though still slightly below the prices of New York City. The budget must be passed before October 1st.
There are several trickle-down effects for an increase in the cigarette tax that will affect our members. This tax increase would be a huge hit to small businesses at a time they are struggling to find the money to pay the ever increasing minimum wage with a business model that can only exist on thin profit margins. Additionally, the revenue estimate from Treasury includes a prediction that this increase will lead to an immediate 12% drop in cigarette sales within the state's borders. Now that we are at the level of New York, our members near the state borders will likely see less New York customers purchasing cigarettes. New York state residents will no longer see any value in making their purchases here in New Jersey, where they support our small businesses and our state budget. Drive further south, and customers will see even greater discounts and advantages to buying outside of New Jersey. Pennsylvania in 2016 raised their cigarette tax to $2.60 a pack, eliminating a competitive advantage they had over our retailers near the border. This tax increase will bring back that advantage for PA businesses. In Delaware the cigarette tax rate is just $2.10 a pack and their sales tax is zero, with this proposed increase every carton of cigarettes will be at least $29 less in DE than in NJ. Drive a little further into Virginia and the tax advantage will save $45 per carton.
We expect these tax increases will only result in decreased sales in tobacco products overall and will not generate the outcomes the governor expects in order to overcome budget shortfalls as a result of the pandemic.
It is a bit too early to start sending messages to legislators at this time, but we will have to watch this on a daily basis and I will need our members to be paying attention. This will be an uphill battle but we have won this before, and it's been won based on our analysis that finds we actually lose revenue because of the effect on out of state sales. If and when you see an Action Alert on this issue, please act immediately to send messages to your legislators.
The proposed state budget would increase the income tax on incomes between $1 million and $5 million, from 8.97% to 10.75%. He is also calling for what was sold in 2018 as a temporary surtax on the corporation business tax (on c-corp income over $1 million) to become permanent rather than sunset as it was originally scheduled. There are a variety of smaller increases being enacted as well, included putting sales tax on limousine services, repealing a sales tax cap on boats, and increasing fees related to firearms. The budget also calls for borrowing $4 billion and keeping aside over $2 billion in surplus.
As we get a better handle on controlling the spread of the COVID virus through social distancing measures, NJGCA is resuming Emissions Inspector (PIF) training on September 16th and 17th. We only have TWO spaces available. Any additional registrants will be signed up for the next available class date, yet to be determined.
Please be advised: due to the pandemic, we cannot allow refunds or no-shows. If you expect you will miss the class, please contact Nick at nick@njgca.org.
If you are interested in signing up, CLICK HERE.

Be Well -  
Sal Risalvato
Executive Director




  Training Class Schedule  

All classes held at NJGCA HQ -- 4900 Route 33 West, Wall Township, NJ 07753

Two-Day Emissions Inspector Training Class
September 16th & 17th, 2020

After a long delay due to the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis, NJGCA is pleased to announce that our training classes will resume! If you, a colleague, or an employee technician wishes to become a NJ Emissions Inspector, we can help and now is your chance! NJGCA will offer a two-day class with all the information and training you need to become a NJ Emissions Inspector.
On day one you will receive in-class instruction from NJGCA's instructor. We will break for lunch (provided), and the State will administer the written test in the afternoon. On day two will go over the hands-on test at an emission inspection location to fully prepare you for the hands-on test.
In light of the current crisis, and to protect both students and staffers, all participants must wear facemasks at all times while on the premises and respect social-distancing guidelines.

September class registration click here



  News Around The State  

Vehicles Will Take Decades to Evolve to New Tech
Although alternative powertrains, including electric vehicles (EVs), are entering the market, it may be decades before these new technologies are commonplace in the U.S., according to a new report released by the Fuels Institute, titled "State of Transportation Energy and Vehicle Electrification." During that time, consumers will continue to drive traditional liquid fueled vehicles. . . EVs are expected to increase market share of new vehicles sold, because new EVs are resolving some of the challenges to owning an EV, such as range anxiety, recharging time and purchase price. At the same time, policies like zero-emission vehicle programs continue to spread throughout the U.S., creating a strong incentive for manufacturers to bring more EVs to market. Dozens of new models are expected to become available in the next few years.

$1,000 'Baby Bond' Proposed in N.J. in Bid to Narrow the Wealth Gap
The idea to give out the so-called baby bonds is a scaled-down version of legislation introduced by Senator Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey, to help address a disparity that, on average, has left white families in the United States seven times wealthier than their Black counterparts. The New Jersey initiative, which Mr. Murphy's aides believe is the first state effort of its kind, would cost an estimated $80 million a year and would require legislative approval. The $1,000 allocation, payable with interest when a child turns 18, is included in the amended state budget that Mr. Murphy is scheduled to release on Tuesday. Mr. Murphy, a Democrat, said the move would be a small but tangible step toward confronting inequities that have been brought into particularly stark relief by the coronavirus pandemic, which has disproportionately affected Black and Latino people, who have died and lost jobs at far higher rates. . .The initiative would apply to children born into families earning less than about $131,000 a year, or 500 percent of the federal poverty level - about 70 percent of all New Jersey residents, an aide to Mr. Murphy said. At an average rate of growth equivalent to Monday's 30-year bond rate of 1.35 percent, the investment would be worth about $1,270 after 18 years.

Murphy N.J. Budget To Include Tax Hikes On Millionaires, Smokers, Gun Owners And $4 Billion In Borrowing, Sources Say
New Jersey millionaires, smokers, and gun owners would pay more in taxes and the state would borrow $4 billion to help fill a massive tax revenue hole in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic under a revised, nine-month state budget proposal Gov. Phil Murphy will unveil Tuesday, NJ Advance Media has learned. Murphy will also propose restoring the popular Homestead Tax Rebate and Senior Freeze programs, and the approximately $32 billion taxpayer-funded budget would include a $2.2 billion surplus, according to two sources familiar with the spending plan. There would also be no cuts to school funding, sources said.

Atlantic Co. Board of Chosen Freeholders Supports NJ Business Coalition's Call for Regional Opening
The Atlantic County Board of Chosen Freeholders has unanimously adopted Resolution 384, which urges Gov. Phil Murphy to reopen businesses in New Jersey. The bipartisan resolution adopted Aug. 18 cites the New Jersey Business Coalition's [NJGCA is a member] Recovery and Reinvention Framework 2.0 and comments from Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson. The Atlantic County Board of Chosen Freeholders is the first group of elected officials to pass a resolution in support of the New Jersey Business Coalition's efforts.



  Energy Information Agency Weekly Retail Gasoline Prices  
Each week, the Energy Information Administration publishes a list of average gasoline prices for the previous three weeks. NJGCA will begin including this list with the Weekly Road Warrior. Remember, these prices are reflective of self-serve everywhere except NJ.


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