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Leaving state more attractive to N.J. business owners

uhaul091509_optCost of living issue to be discussed at forum scheduled for Oct. 2 at RVCC

There's one word, increasingly, that's not synonymous with the cost of living in New Jersey or having a business here: Affordability.

"We're kind of scratching our head," said Franklin resident Jim Morano. He and his wife both own businesses, but they've been wondering whether to head South after inheriting a house in South Carolina, he told www.mycentraljersey.com."If you already own a residence outside of New Jersey, at some point in time, the differential is going to pay you to leave."

New Jersey residents have been protesting taxes for the past few years by picking up and moving. Since 2000, more than a quarter of a million residents have moved out of the sate, according to the Census Bureau.

Morano said that business owners may be right behind residents in seeking greener pastures out of state to live and work.

As a business owner, there are taxes (property, income, business), frivolous lawsuits, and regulatory paperwork to contend with, said Neal Campbell, who owns Campbell Supply Inc., a firefighting apparatus sales and service company in Edison. He said he spends 40 hours a year filling out paperwork for the state.

There's also more state income tax to pay, if you earn $400,000 and more. Gail Rosen, president of Gail Rosen CPA in Bridgewater, has a client who's thinking about heading south. It's a no brainer, Rosen's client figured: If they earn $3 million this year, they could buy a $300,000 condo in Florida, where there's no income tax, for the size of the tax bill they'd have to pay here.

Gov. Jon Corzine can answer questions directly about his plans for extending the tax hike, passed as a stopgap, temporary measure in 2008, if he attends "Making New Jersey Affordable for Businesses and Residents." Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie and independent candidate Christopher Daggett have already sent in their RSVPs.

The Somerset County Business Partnership (SCBP) is sponsoring the forum, scheduled for October 2 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Raritan Valley Community College in Bridgewater, along with several organizations.

Registration is free, and open to non-members, at www.scbp.org.

"New Jersey has some competitive disadvantages that make it difficult for our businesses of all sizes to compete with some of the surrounding areas," said the Partnership's president, Michael Kerwin, citing the triple whammy of high housing costs, high property taxes, and high state income taxes. In 2008, the Tax Foundation in Washington, D.C., ranked us last in business tax climate and 48th in property taxes.

— DORIANNE PERRUCCI, NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM

 

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