More Than 50 Percent of CPAs Recommended an Individual or Business Leave New Jersey Due to High Cost of Living, says NJCPA Survey
Unfriendly State and Federal Business Policies Top Concerns
State and federal policies that are unfriendly to businesses are the top concern of the 440 certified public accountants surveyed by the New Jersey Society of CPAs (NJCPA) in May. More than 50 percent of the respondents who service clients said they have advised an individual or business client to leave the state due to the high cost of living and doing business. The survey, sponsored by Provident Bank, was conducted to gauge CPAs’ outlook on the national and New Jersey economies.
Of those who service clients, an even higher percentage (70 percent) advised an individual client, as opposed to a business client, to leave the state of New Jersey due to the high cost of living. Sixty percent of those respondents also said they saw an increase in the number of high-income clients who file as nonresidents of New Jersey, and almost 70 percent saw a decrease in the number of high-income clients who have residency in the state. Respondents pointed to New Jersey’s high property-tax and corporate-tax rates as among the top reasons for their beliefs.
Other top concerns for their businesses included the lack of availability of skilled personnel (48 percent), regulatory requirements (41 percent) and domestic economic conditions (38 percent).
They also said New Jersey businesses would benefit from more shared services among local governments in the state. As one respondent explained, “These moves would certainly attract business into the state and help reduce costs that are forcing many to consider leaving the state.”
On a broader scale, respondents were evenly split in their view of the economic outlook for New Jersey for the rest of 2021 compared to the first five months, with 36 percent saying the economy would get worse and 35 percent noting it would get better. They were slightly more optimistic about the U.S. economy, with 43 percent saying the national economy will improve.
Respondents noted several areas where New Jersey’s state government could assist businesses over the next 12 months, which included avoiding excessive regulations and investing in infrastructure improvements.
“The New Jersey Legislature needs to listen to the needs of the business community in the state. Only by working together can we truly recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and prosper,” said Gregory S. Dittrich, senior vice president and director of Government Banking, Small Business & Escrow at Provident Bank.
“CPAs are on the frontlines of economic recovery steps in the state and the NJCPA is eager to continue its work with lawmakers to foster a quick and strong rebound,” said Ralph Albert Thomas, CPA (DC), CGMA, CEO and executive director at NJCPA.