With Mercedes moving its New Jersey headquarters, Republicans renew their call to reduce taxes

Industrials Associated Press

Some New Jersey Republican leaders are renewing their call to lower taxes after Mercedes-Benz's announcement this week that it's moving its U.S. headquarters to Atlanta.

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Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi, a Republican whose district includes Montvale, where Mercedes has its offices, says the state's incentives for businesses to move or stay here are helping cities but are not doing as much for Bergen County.

She says there need to be bigger changes to the tax system to keep companies from moving.

"We're almost competing against ourselves to the detriment of the county I represent," she told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The luxury German automaker announced on Tuesday that it would move its headquarters from Montvale to Atlanta beginning later this year. About 1,000 workers are to be moved.

In the last two years, rental car company Hertz and Bubble Wrap maker Sealed Air Corp., have announced moves from Bergen County to the South.

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A new set of business incentives adopted in 2013 has been helping attract and keep businesses elsewhere in New Jersey, but it has not been much of a factor in Bergen, which borders New York City and is the state's most populous county.

Gov. Chris Christie's spokesman, Michael Drewniak, also said on Tuesday that company's move underscores the need for tax cuts in New Jersey.

There's a constant battle over taxes between Christie and the state's Democrat-controlled Legislature. Key Democrats say the state should raise its income tax rate for the highest-earning residents in order to pay for services the state needs. Christie has vetoed such a plan repeatedly, though his proposals to lower taxes have not been approved by lawmakers.

The Mercedes-Benz U.S. President and CEO, Stephen Cannon, told The Record (http://bit.ly/1BzZyLV ) that it was not just tax incentives that lured the company away.

"Incentives, when you look at the whole picture, it's just a small piece," he said. "We're making a 50-year decision, and a pile of incentives in Year One, Two or Three over a 50-year decision doesn't make a gigantic impact."