Dedicating Corporate Transit Fee Revenue to NJ Transit Makes Fiscal and Policy Sense

Testimony from NJPP Senior Policy Analyst Peter Chen in favor of dedicating revenue from the Corporate Transit Fee to fund NJ Transit.

Published on Apr 25, 2024 in Tax and Budget, Transportation

The Corporate Transit Fee is a critical investment for our state — making Big Business pay back some of its record profits in support of the New Jersey infrastructure that generated those profits in the first place.

But it also represents an important bulwark against the tide of eroding corporate taxes that have affected both federal and state governments. An increasingly concentrated group of the most profitable corporations now soak up an enormous percentage of the world’s economic production, with tax cuts and loopholes for corporations to reduce already-shrinking tax liability. If states are unable to pull back wealth from these sophisticated corporate actors, they will find themselves with less revenue to fund critical investments like schools, public health, and infrastructure, while placing more burden on in-state residents and institutions.

As NJPP noted in its recent report, this fee would affect less than 1% of New Jersey business tax filers, almost all of whom are located out of state. Rather than harming New Jersey businesses, this would help level the playing field between small and midsize businesses and corporate behemoths, ensuring that a business collecting $100,000 in profits does not pay the same tax rate as a business collecting $100,000,000.

The prior corporate surtax allowed New Jersey’s tax collections to grow proportionally with the record profits generated by businesses post-2020, while other states lagged behind. The Corporate Transit Fee will hopefully allow this trend to continue.

Dedicating the fee to NJ Transit makes both fiscal and policy sense. As you are well aware, NJ Transit faces an $850 million budget deficit starting in fiscal year 2026. Without the CTF, the trains and buses that form the backbone of New Jersey’s economic success would face immediate cutbacks and cancellations, with shuttered stations and riders left stranded. The most profitable businesses should pay their fair share for infrastructure that helps them generate their profits. NJ Transit needs sustainable dedicated funding to preserve its operations for years to come.

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