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Amy Campbell

Amy Campbell
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acampbell@vpico.com

Way to go, Jersey!

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I'm an East Coast girl, so I relish any opportunity to give a shout out to storage operators on the Atlantic. Today, kudos goes out to the New Jersey Self Storage Association and facility owners in that state for their valiant fight against The Man.


New Jersey recently raised its sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent. Not great, but not devastating, right? No, the real bummer is the pending imposition of this tax on previously exempt services, including self-storage, health clubs and tattoo parlors. (Man, I would hate to live in N.J. after Oct. 1 ... Ink is expensive enough already!) NJSSA contends the leveraging of this new expense on storage rentals is unconstitutional, and it is making a stand!


First, the association has retained a lawyer to lobby against this legislation. Second, it has posted a set of "talking points" on its website to help storage operators in communicating concerns about the state tax to legislators. Third, it has printed a letter template in its monthly newsletter, something storage owners can personalize and send to officials. The website, www.njssa.org, also includes a list of legislators and registration for an e-mail alert, which will keep operators up-to-date.


If you own or manage a facility in New Jersey, I strongly urge you to volunteer in the association's efforts. What can you do? Aside from contacting your state officials, you can help distribute post cards and posters to facilities statewide. These materials will help inform customers about the impending tax and invite them to speak against it via signature.


If you're not in New Jersey, don't be foolish enough to believe this situation has no impact on your business. What do you suppose will happen if this tax application comes to fruition? States all over the country will start salivating over the potential income they, too, could enjoy by imposing tax on a few simple services—and self-storage could be one of them.


Jersey operators, tell me your tales ... Which weapon are you wielding in this battle? How are you eduating tenants and preparing for the potential change? Finally, how do you think a 7 percent sales tax will affect your ability to raise rents and maximize profit? Mm-hmm.

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