Tourism plays a huge part in the Jersey Shore economy. When I heard that there were two bills being put before the New Jersey Assembly that might hurt our local tourism industry, I knew I had to act. So, I contacted my Assemblyman Joe Armato to request that he oppose these bills. His reply? No more seasonal sales tax at the Jersey Shore.
Seasonal Sales Tax at the Jersey Shore
Assembly Bill A4294 would impose a sales and use tax on rental properties in Atlantic County. Many Jersey Shore homeowners rely heavily on the summer rental season. Any additional taxes incurred get passed along to the consumer, resulting in higher prices to renters. This might cause tourists to seek other areas to rent. Between transportation, services, food, and entertainment, they spend millions of dollars in our communities during the summer season alone. If they decide to “summer” elsewhere, this could force many local businesses to go under. Then, hundreds if not thousands of people could be out of work. The initiation of such a tax could have devastating repercussions for our local economy. The good news is that Assemblyman Armato told me in no uncertain terms that there would be no shore tax after all.
Realty Transfer Fee at the Jersey Shore
The second bill, A4295, proposes that the realty transfer fee (RTF) double from 1% to 2% on any Jersey Shore home over $1 million. The state itself reports a large inventory of high-end homes. That’s especially true in tourism-driven places like the Jersey Shore. Increasing the RTF might persuade investors even more to look elsewhere. In turn, this could affect local businesses and governments because there will be less tourists spending money in the area. Assemblyman Armato told me that they raised the RTF requirement from properties over $1 million to those over $5 million. His fellow assemblymen agreed that this was “a fiscally responsible way to ensure that the wealthiest residents of New Jersey pay their fair share”.
So, while the RTF will still be doubled, it only affects those super high-end homes of $5 million or more. And no seasonal sales tax means no increased fees to deter tourists from coming here. The Stockton University’s Atlantic City campus begins classes next month. With it come over 300 new jobs. At the end of June, we saw two new casinos open in Atlantic City: Ocean Resort and the Hard Rock. And with homestead funding being reinstated, Jersey Shore homeowners should find some relief from their property taxes. All in all, things are starting to look up for our local community.