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NJ Governor’s Budget includes Proposed Boating Sales Tax Increase

Friday, August 28, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Mickaela Hilleren
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On Tuesday, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy proposed a repeal of the overwhelmingly bipartisan sales tax cap on boats as part of his revised nine-month 2021 state budget to make up for a $5.6 billion budget shortfall due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Governor’s $1 billion tax hike also includes a third attempt to raise the millionaires tax, and additional taxes on HMOs, corporation business surtax, and increased sales tax on cigarettes, limousines, and recreational watercrafts.

MRAA is partnering with the Association of Marina Industries and the Marine Trades Association of New Jersey to oppose this legislation and ensure that small businesses in NJ can continue to remain competitive and drive economic growth and prosperity.

“This proposed tax hike fails to recognize the impact that the recreational boating industry has in supporting many well-paying, blue-collar jobs in New Jersey,” said Adam Fortier-Brown, MRAA government relations manager. “Quite often, the recreational boating industry is painted unfairly as an activity for the nation’s wealthiest. This viewpoint is simply untrue, as the vast majority of boating households are in the middle class. Increasing taxes on boats in NJ will only encourage families to look across state lines for boat purchases so they can recreate responsibly, and harm small businesses and the workers who depend on them.”

This proposal is joined by a proposal in the Senate led by Senator Vin Gopal (D-11). Despite this, the state’s two highest-ranking lawmakers, Senate President Stephen Sweeney and State Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, have shown they are hesitant to any tax increases though statements to NJ Advance Media.

“Many families all across this state have struggled with unprecedented hardship, from both a health and a financial perspective,” Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin said, adding that NJ lawmakers must “address the extraordinary challenges that COVID-19 has created.”

“I completely agree with the speaker. I said nothing’s off the table. And I think he said the same thing,” State Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester. “This all has to be looked at big picture. We have to be very serious about tax increases. We’re talking about adding burden to people If we’re gonna be raising taxes, we’ve got to be very judicious about it.”

The sales tax cap on boats was passed in 2015 to respond to the severe economic downturn and devastation to the industry caused by the 2007-2008 Financial Crisis and Hurricane Sandy to ensure the state remained competitive with neighboring states. In the 15 years preceding the sales tax cap, NJ lost over 90,000 registered boats.

The Democratic-controlled state legislature has until October 1 to pass a spending package or face a government shutdown.

For additional information, please contact MRAA government relations manager Adam Fortier-Brown at

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