RELEASE: Gottheimer Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Cut Bureaucratic Red Tape Hurting Jersey Businesses

Apr 04, 2022
Press

The Bipartisan “Cut Red Tape Act” Will Eliminate Outdated Bureaucracy, While Protecting Our Families and Communities

Helps Create New Jobs, Keep Manufacturers in NJ, and Boost Economy

Above: Gottheimer announces new bipartisan legislation to cut red tape today at Jamis Bikes in Northvale.

NORTHVALE, NJ — Today, April 4, 2022, at Jamis Bikes in Northvale, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) announced the introduction of bipartisan legislation — the Cut Red Tape Act — to help eliminate red tape and outdated bureaucracy, help create jobs, support small businesses, and spur economic growth in New Jersey — all while protecting what matters most: our air and water, our food, our health and safety, and our families and children. This bipartisan legislation is part of Gottheimer’s Affordability Agenda for New Jersey, which includes tackling supply chain issues, combating rising costs, and cutting taxes for families.

Gottheimer is introducing the bipartisan Cut Red Tape Act with Representatives Rodney Davis (IL-13) and Ron Kind (WI-3).

Gottheimer also shined a spotlight on the glaringly high business taxes restricting New Jersey’s full economic potential, as well as best practices in cutting red tape in New Jersey and nationwide. 

Gottheimer was joined today by Jamis Bikes owner Carine Joannou, Northern Valley Chamber of Commerce President and President & CEO of Northvale business ADM Tronics Andre DiMino, Northvale Mayor Patrick Marana, and Bergen County Clerk John Hogan.

“When we’re competing with the rest of the country, from Florida to North Carolina to Texas, and including a few miles from here in Pennsylvania, it’s almost as if there is a ‘No business need apply’ sign in our state window. After speaking with everyone from mom-and-pops to the biggest businesses, New Jersey seems to take the red tape cake. It’s time to change the ingredients,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). “I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to fight back, and steal back some of the jobs and people that other states, and other countries, are taking from us. If we take steps like the bipartisan legislation I’m introducing today, we can attract families and businesses, create new jobs, and cut the red tape that is restricting our great state’s full potential.”

Gottheimer’s bipartisan Cut Red Tape Act will create an independent, bipartisan commission — the Regulatory Improvement Commission — to review rules that are outdated, duplicative, or in conflict with one another. The Commission will present its recommendations to Congress for a simple up or down vote, providing the opportunity to cut tape at the federal level. Both Democrats and Republicans will play a role in cutting outdated and unnecessarily burdensome red tape to help unleash more economic opportunity, create jobs, cut taxes, save Americans money, and protect consumers and our families.

Right now, Jersey ranks worst for business friendliness, and, of all 50 states, it has the highest corporate income tax at 11.5%. Residents and businesses are moving out of the state, and it is difficult for businesses to start here and grow. New Jersey ranks poorly across the board as well. Tax Foundation ranked New Jersey as 48th for individual taxes, 43rd for sales tax, 44th for property taxes, and 32nd for unemployment insurance taxes. Research also shows that business owners who live in Jersey pay twice as much as they would somewhere else. 

“It’s so great to be hearing about this legislation because when you help business, you help America,” said Northern Valley Chamber of Commerce and local business owner Andre DiMino. “Anytime you can take hurdles away from business, that’s good for America. That’s why I’m pleased to be here with Congressman Gottheimer for this important announcement.” 

Below: Gottheimer with Jamis Bikes owner Carine Joannou.

The full bill text of the Cut Red Tape Act can be found here.

Video of the announcement can be found here.

Gottheimer’s remarks as prepared for delivery: 

It’s great to be here today in Northvale at Jamis Bikes, a business that truly represents the American dream and the success that can come from owning a small business. Carine’s father, the founder of their family business, was born in Cyprus and had always heard of the opportunities in America — of the streets paved with gold. After saving enough money, her dad packed up his life and took the transatlantic trip from the U.K. to America. When he got here, he had a vision — a vision to innovate America’s bicycle industry. He started a small business importing bicycles from the U.K., then from France, Japan, and Taiwan. Carine promised him that she wouldn’t let the bicycle company die, and she did more than just keep it alive.

Today, their family-owned business — built from scratch in 1937 — has grown beyond their wildest imagination and now even has a national and international footprint. We’re proud to have Jamis headquartered right here in the Fifth District. Carine, thank you to you and your family for your work and for the investment you’ve made and jobs you’ve created right here in North Jersey and in America. I couldn’t be more proud to represent you.

I know you’ve faced your share of bureaucratic, unnecessary red tape dealing with the federal government.

We’re here this morning to announce new bipartisan legislation – the Cut Red Tape Act – to help eliminate red tape and outdated bureaucracy, help create jobs and spur economic growth in Jersey, and to ensure more small businesses like Jamis will start and grow here in the Garden State. It’s all part of my Affordability Agenda for New Jersey, which includes improving the supply chain and cutting taxes for our families.

I often hear the same thing from small business owners who love our state: it’s not always easy to do business here. If we are going to compete and win in this century and beyond, that’s something our state must change.

Between local, county, and state government, the various regulatory agencies like the DEP, between the permits and studies, the inspections and the delays, the fees and the local, state, and corporate taxes, and more fees and gotcha penalties — it can be a real bear to do business here. When we’re competing with the rest of the country, from Florida to North Carolina to Texas, and including a few miles from here in Pennsylvania, it’s almost as if there is a “No business need apply” sign in our state window. After speaking with everyone from mom-and-pops to the biggest businesses, New Jersey seems to take the red tape cake. It’s time to change the ingredients.

Here’s the reality. According to the Tax Foundation’s 2022 State Business Tax Climate Index, of all 50 states, New Jersey currently has some of the highest business taxes in the nation, ranking the highest for corporate income tax at 11.5 percent, and we rank pretty poorly across the board, too. Tax Foundation ranked New Jersey as 48th for individual taxes, 43rd for sales tax, 44th for property taxes, and 32nd for unemployment insurance taxes. Research also shows that business owners who live in Jersey pay twice as much as they would somewhere else.

It’s time to lower taxes for small businesses and families and make it more attractive for jobs here.

Because of these issues, too many Jersey families, millennials, and businesses are moving out of our state. According to United Van Lines’ annual National Movers Study, New Jersey ranked as the top state in the nation for outbound migration last year, a spot we’ve held for the prior four years, too.

Add to that the third worst roads in the country, some of the longest commutes, a third of our bridges are considered unsafe, and, well, those stats don’t exactly help us attract businesses here. These stats aren’t exactly something you put on a business recruitment bumper sticker.

When I was growing up, my dad ran a small business here in New Jersey. He used to tell me that he felt the State was always coming up with new agencies every month just to add a new bureaucratic layer to hold up progress — for someone else to ask the same questions or do the same inspection that the last person did. 

The stories from Jersey businesses are endless about how long inspections take, or how the town will order one change to a project, the business spends tens of thousands fixing it, and then another official comes in from the state and orders it to be undone. One state agency contradicts another and seems to look for any little thing to hold you up.

As a result of our state’s layers of bureaucracy, it either takes years of headaches and unnecessary costs to build or locate a business here in New Jersey, or people simply decide to build, locate, or relocate elsewhere. Many inspectors in towns are part time, and, if they miss an appointment, you could have to wait weeks or months for them to come back, costing a new store trying to open up thousands they don’t have.

What’s even more frustrating is that bureaucratic red tape is exacerbating issues that affect all of us, like the trucker shortage. It’s been reported that right here in Jersey, many people are applying to be truckers, but pandemic-related red tape at the Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) is keeping driving schools from quickly getting new truckers on the road.

What I hear from local businesses is their frustration when they get tied up in red tape. For example, how many times, and with how many agencies and with how many levels of government, do we have to study the same road before getting a shovel into the ground? How many gotcha inspectors do we need to empower? How many agencies need to sign off on the same project over and over? I just fought for years to help pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, and I can only imagine how many bureaucrats are eager to tie their red tape around these projects to fix our roads, bridges, water projects, transit, rails, and the Gateway Tunnel – and to keep them from moving forward.

It’s not just hitting our construction, real estate, and service businesses. It’s also hobbling our life sciences and small retailers and manufacturers, where we used to lead the way.  A few months ago, we lost Mondelez’s Oreo Cookie plant that created jobs in Fair Lawn since 1958. And just last year, health and beauty manufacturer A.P. Deauville moved its headquarters and manufacturing operations from New Jersey to Pennsylvania — a $16.7 million investment and 105 jobs that should be in New Jersey. They were enticed by business-friendlier states. And Pennsylvania, in particular, keeps robbing us blind. 

Unfortunately, we have many of the same issues at the federal level – and they trickle down to the states. Government bureaucracy comes up with new rules that contradict other rules and layers on new ones without actually getting rid of the old, out-of-date ones.  We have regulatory agencies, like the FCC and CFPB, that are in the rule-making business – so that’s what they do. But, when new leadership comes in, they don’t actually study the old rules on the books to see if they’re still necessary. So, year after year, they pile up, even when they’re out of date, and then these rules create a huge bureaucracy at the agency and for businesses and startups who have to comply with all of them.

In my opinion, we should reassess these rules every few years and see if they’re still needed.  We also need to streamline the approval process when we send resources to the states, like the recent help for broadband and infrastructure that we passed out of Congress. Towns have come to me looking for guidance on how they can invest the resources and even the Treasury Department can’t figure out or offer final guidance on the 400-page manual they created to allocate the resources. It’s insane.

Again, I’m the first one to say we need appropriate guardrails to protect our families and communities — but not ones that are added for the sake of it or just to hold up job creation that families need to put food on the table. What we need is more common sense.

Overall, both New Jersey and the federal government need to do better. My new bipartisan legislation — the Cut Red Tape Act — will help cut red tape, get rid of outdated rules, and streamline government, so it moves faster and supports our small businesses and jobs. It will promote smart job growth and help kickstart new businesses and allow existing ones to grow.

The bipartisan Cut Red Tape Act, which I’m introducing with Republican Representatives Rodney Davis from Illinois and Democrat Ron Kind from Wisconsin, will create an independent, bipartisan commission — the Regulatory Improvement Commission — to review rules that are outdated, duplicative, or in conflict with one another. The Commission will then present its recommendations to Congress for a simple up or down vote, giving us ample opportunity to cut tape at the federal level.

And there’s nothing partisan about this. With this bill, both sides of the aisle will help cut outdated and unnecessarily burdensome red tape, unleash more economic opportunity, create jobs, cut taxes, save Americans money, and protect consumers and our families. It’s a real win-win.

One other thing: we have lots of innovative mayors here in my district that are providing a model for how to cut through the red tape and make the process easier, faster, and cheaper — all to help create jobs and economic growth, and protect their communities and families.

For example, in 2016, Paramus voted to update their rules, all with the goal of encouraging businesses to locate here. Paramus has increased its revenue by approximately $2 billion dollars as a result. That’s billion with a B. That’s led to more jobs and a huge savings on property taxes for Paramus residents.

Paramus has also developed a program for self-inspection and certification that makes it easier and quicker for businesses to get their inspections and certifications done. I think this approach should be adopted statewide.

Just over the river in New York, they allow for self-inspections that speed up processes and hold the private inspectors accountable. Think about how that could improve time-to-build, not only for businesses, but for our residents, too. It’s the ultimate way to cut red tape! We should be applying the same ideas to the federal government, too.

Just last month, I led a bipartisan letter to the President to immediately unleash the resources passed in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill and cut through red tape to ensure that Americans can begin benefiting from the law’s infrastructure investments as soon as possible.

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to fight back, and steal back some of the jobs and people that other states, and other countries, are taking from us. If we take steps like the bipartisan legislation I’m introducing today, we can attract families and businesses, create new jobs, and cut the red tape that is restricting our great state’s full potential.

In the greatest country in the world, working together, I know that our best days will always be ahead of us. Thank you all for being here today. God bless you and God bless the United States of America.

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