A New Year, A New Legislature: A Look Ahead at 2020

BY ANTHONY RUSSO, PRESIDENT, CIANJ

THE 219TH New Jersey Legislature will be sworn in this month and Governor Murphy will begin his third year in office the same way he began his first year—looking to fulfill certain campaign promises he made, especially when it comes to finalizing a true millionaires’ tax.

As elections always have conse­quences, November 2020 is going to be a busy and hectic month when voters will decide whether New Jersey becomes the next state to legalize the recreation­al use of cannabis, in addition to casting a vote for president and their congres­sional representative. One thing is for certain with so much on the line for our state—voter turnout will be higher than normal.

Trenton lawmakers will also need to address another major issue—fixing the now defunct tax incentive program. No one knows for sure what the final program will look like, but 2019 will be remembered for the intense focus this issue received from the media and stakeholders and for the lawsuits filed. On this issue, CIANJ will remain vigilant in its efforts to secure a fair and trans­parent tax incentive program that helps businesses grow and remain competitive with the rest of the region and with other states.

The use of independent contractors may also receive additional attention in Trenton, where legislators have been trying to mimic a complex California law that overclassifies workers as employ­ees—it began as an attempt to address the ride share services and their employ­ment relationship with drivers, and has overreached.

Thanks to our efforts, and the efforts of a business coalition, the independent contractor legislation introduced during the lame duck session stalled. But will it have new life in 2020? No one knows for sure, but both the governor and the legislature have made it a priority to go after businesses that “misclassify” employees.

The state budget is always an issue of contention, when the debate over revenues and expenses takes center stage until the curtain closes on July 1. Will revenues trend up? Will there be an April surprise? We will be present when the governor delivers his budget address in February or March.

CIANJ will continue its advocacy efforts in Trenton to promote and protect free enterprise for the purpose of fostering—through education, legislative vigilance and membership interaction—an economic climate that enhances business potential and makes New Jersey a better state in which to live, work and conduct business.

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