Lawmakers propose tax credits for N.Y. businesses opening offices in N.J.

Proposal is latest response to proposed congestion toll in Manhattan

By: - August 10, 2022 7:09 am

Rep. Josh Gottheimer and state lawmakers announcing a state plan to offer incentives for New York employers to open New Jersey offices for their Garden State workers in Fair Lawn on Aug. 9, 2022. (Courtesy of Gottheimer’s office)

New Jersey lawmakers’ latest response to proposed congestion pricing in Manhattan is new legislation that would offer tax incentives to New York businesses that let their New Jersey employees work in the Garden State rather than commute across the Hudson River.

U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer, flanked by state officials and business leaders, announced the proposal during a press conference Tuesday in Fair Lawn. Offering tax credits to keep commuters on this side of the Hudson would allow New Jersey commuters to avoid the planned congestion toll, which could cost them as much as $23 a day, the Bergen County Democrat said.

“I’m sick of New York City mooching off of us. As we say here in Jersey, with friends like these, who needs enemies?” he said.

He’s calling it the “Stay in Jersey” bill. State Sen. Joe Lagana and Assemblywoman Lisa Swain, both Democrats from Bergen County, are expected to introduce the bill in the state Legislature. Gottheimer said it would save residents $20,000 a year when accounting for the $16 toll via bridge or tunnel, the congestion toll, gas, and parking.

New York’s controversial congestion pricing plan, first approved in 2019, would charge drivers entering Manhattan below 60th street and is expected to bring in $1 billion annually.

Gottheimer, a critic of the tolling program, takes issue not only with the nearly $40 a day New Jersey drivers would have to pay to work in New York, but also objects to the plan keeping all the revenue in New York. Congestion tolls would fund the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s capital infrastructure plan. 

“Just read MTA spelled backwards and it tells you exactly how New York looks at New Jersey right now: as their personal ATM,” he said. “The last thing that a terribly mismanaged government authority needs — one riddled with investigations — is more money.”

A new report from the Federal Highway Administration, the MTA Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, and New York City and state transportation departments claims congestion pricing could cut congestion by nearly 20%, improve air quality, increase the use of public transit, and help make bus service more reliable.

Janno Lieber, MTA chairperson and CEO, called congestion pricing “good for the environment, good for public transit, and good for New York and the region,” according to The City. Public hearings on the plan are set for later this month.

The New Jersey measure would establish the “Expand New Jersey Assistance Program” within the state Economic Development Authority, with $15 million a year appropriated through 2027. 

To be eligible for the tax credits, businesses expanding to New Jersey must show they will acquire or lease a facility where full-time employees will work and prove the new locations will cut commuting costs for existing full-time workers who relocate to work in New Jersey.

The tax credit would be $250 per existing full-time employee who works at least 60% of their time at the New Jersey location.

Lagana said he’s aware some businesses are having trouble bringing employees back to their offices after years of working from home. Lawmakers are ready to hear from employers about how this tax credit would benefit them, he said.

“We’re going to take our cue from them. We don’t want to do a one-size-fits-all program. We want to see what’s going to work, and if we have to adjust as we proceed, we will,” he said. 

He expects bipartisan support for the measure, he said. 

The New Jersey Chamber of Commerce and New Jersey Restaurant and Hospitality Association both attended Gottheimer’s press conference Tuesday in support of the legislation.

Gottheimer recently introduced federal legislation that would prohibit using federal dollars to implement congestion pricing programs until an economic impact analysis is completed and publicly available. 

On Tuesday, he highlighted how more offices around North Jersey would mean residents would save time commuting and, in turn, spend more time with family and in their local downtowns. 

“Our residents will save on having to pay New York taxes and save on gas and overpriced food in New York, all while reducing pollution from a long commute and helping protect the environment, and most importantly, staying here and working from Jersey,” he said.

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Sophie Nieto-Munoz
Sophie Nieto-Munoz

Sophie Nieto-Muñoz, a New Jersey native and former Trenton statehouse reporter for, shined a spotlight on the state’s crumbling unemployment system and won several awards for investigative reporting from the New Jersey Press Association. She was a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists for her report on PetSmart's grooming practices, which was also recognized by the New York Press Club. Sophie speaks Spanish and is proud to connect to the Latinx community through her reporting.