Interview with a legislator: Sen. Bob Gordon

New Jersey is a unique place with some interesting challenges, according to state Sen. Bob Gordon.

“The New Jersey economy is lagging the national economy,” he said.

Gordon (D-Fair Lawn) spoke to ROI-NJ during the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce‘s annual Walk to Washington train trip.

Gordon has recently taken on the issues around growing the manufacturing sector in the state and leads the state’s Manufacturing Caucus.

But there are other challenges, he said.

“The stock market has been moving, but that may change with rising interest rates, which will respond to federal tax laws — which, the motivation was political rather than economic, which is a troubling sign.”

Yet, Gordon remains optimistic with a new governor, Phil Murphy, leading the state.

“We need to refocus our economic development programs,” he said. “I think for a while you’re going to see two centers of power. The Legislature, which doesn’t have a learning curve, we are ready to go. The governor is still getting acclimated. But I think we are going to work together. This happens every four to eight years.”

Small and startup businesses are where the jobs are, he said, and the attention should be focused, adding that the two areas have been neglected for larger companies in recent years.

Meanwhile, the federal tax reform is also a concern in the business community, Gordon said.

“I was just approached by the business community at a recent event saying that all the attention is on SALT, but there are all these things that were changed in the federal tax laws,” he said. “So, do we change our laws to fight them, or do we change our laws to mitigate their effects?”

He added he will be interested to see what the Murphy administration has to say when it’s time for the budget address this month.

“They got zero help from the Christie administration,” he said. “The budget will be a challenge for Murphy.”

Read all of ROI-NJ’s Walk to Washington coverage

  • Murphy tells dinner crowd he supports more innovation, help for startups … and millionaires tax
  • Booker: Millennial issue is everyone’s issue
  • Editor’s Desk: Murphy, Menendez show how gun debate is a business issue
  • From our print edition: ‘Head of sales’: Murphy says rebuilding state economy is a top priority, one he’ll lead personally
  • Walk to Washington: Overheard on the train
  • Interview with a legislator: Asm. Shavonda Sumter
  • Walk to Washington: Riders answer our four questions