BUSINESS & ECONOMY

Business Report Plus: sports betting, budget negotiations the talk of Trenton

BY Rhonda Schaffler, Correspondent |
  • Sports betting Legislation reaches final step before implementation in the state
  • State’s racetracks and casinos continue to prepare betting infrastructure
  • NJ’s business community continues full court press against proposed tax increases
  • ‘JOLT’ report shows there are more jobs in the U.S. than people to fill them

Ladies and gentlemen, place your bets. When will Gov. Murphy sign the sports betting bill approved by the Legislature this week and will sports betting be a big win for New Jersey?

The answer to both of those questions remained a mystery at week’s end. State officials estimate that New Jersey will see about $13 million in tax revenue from legal sports betting in the new fiscal year, which likely explains why Lawmakers enthusiastically approved the Legislation outlining the taxation and supervision of sports gaming.

While it remains unclear when the governor will give his OK, casinos and racetracks continue to secure partners. Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford inked an agreement with Betfair US for retail and online mobile sports betting, while DraftKings has reached a deal with Atlantic City’s Resorts Casino to offer sports betting.

New Jersey’s business community is continuing its full court press on state Lawmakers over the prospects of new taxes in the state as budget talks continue.

Both the state Chamber of Commerce and New Jersey Business and Industry Association oppose a millionaire’s tax, or an increase in the corporate business tax. This week the NJBIA released data showing that taxpayers are already leaving the state, and said higher taxes would cause further damage.

“We’ve heard of a proposal to increase the corporate business tax in the state. The current rate is 9 percent, the proposal is to raise it to 12 percent. If we do that, we’re going to be tied for last in the nation with Iowa,” explained Michele Siekerka, the president and CEO of the NJBIA. “What’s even more important, we’re significantly less competitive within our region.”

“With CBT [corporate business tax], our biggest concern is we have 2,400 companies that would be impacted by an increase in the corporate business tax,” she explained. ”We know we have an out-migration issue from the start, and when we talk about piling on more taxes to New Jersey’s largest businesses, we have a concern that they’re either going to leave or stop growing in the state of New Jersey.”

Also this week, Tom Bracken, the president and CEO of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, shared his perspective on the ongoing state budget negotiations. Bracken has been holding closed-door meetings with state lawmakers, and is bracing for the possibility of increased taxes.

“There’s strain in the budget. When you have that strain we have to balance the budget and there has to be some money generated some place,” said Bracken. “I think there’s a better than average increase that some increase will take place. And our suggestion, once we find out where it is, is to find out how to incorporate whatever increase is implemented into some bigger picture plan that really will, soon rather than later, help spur the economy.”

One of Bracken’s suggestions is to create a ‘Plan B’ for incentivizing small and mid-sized businesses in the state, in case New Jersey does not get selected for Amazon’s new headquarters. We still don’t know if Amazon is any closer to making its decision.

One of the most interesting economic reports this week came from the federal government, which released the monthly ‘JOLT’ report. ‘JOLT’ stands for the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, and for the second month in a row, the report showed there are now more open positions in the U.S. economy than people to fill them. Think about that for a moment. We all know people who struggle to get back into the workforce for various reasons. So, if there are so many available jobs, why isn’t it easy for everyone to get work? It’s one of the most frustrating questions about the current labor market. Next week on NJTV, we’ll dive deeper into that topic when we interview James Hughes, dean emeritus of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers.