Murphy’s strong public stance against Orsted: Is it business ‘friendly’?

State Chamber CEO Bracken backs governor: ‘He’s got to defend New Jersey”

When the governor of a state aggressively calls out a business – calling into question its “credibility and competence” – it would be easy to draw the conclusion that it was not happening in a business-friendly state.

Tom Bracken, the CEO of the N.J. State Chamber, which represents some of the biggest companies in the state, doesn’t see it that way at all. In fact, Bracken said he supports the governor’s strong stance – and feels it’s good for the business community.

“Fair is fair,” Bracken said. “Orsted did something very wrong – and they did it in a very unprofessional way – and if he doesn’t react to that, I think there’s something about his leadership.

“He’s got to defend New Jersey. That’s my feeling.”

Bracken reiterated the idea that the business community values certainty as much as anything. Certainty, he said, includes keeping your word.

“Gov. Murphy scored a lot of points with the business community when he kept his word about allowing the CBT to sunset,” Bracken said. “I view this in the same way.

“He made a commitment. They made a commitment. They didn’t honor theirs. He’s got no other option but to call them out.”

Jim Kirkos, the head of the Meadowlands Chamber, expressed similar feelings – especially in regard to the state attempting to get all of the financial promises (potential $300 million, read more details here) that Orsted committed to.

“If he doesn’t take that stance, it forces the EDA to structure deals differently,” he said. “I would not want this situation to stop the EDA from providing incentives to attract big projects.”

Murphy does not appear to be backing off.

Last Friday, or three days after Orsted announced it would not be going forward with its Ocean Wind 1 or Ocean Wind 2 projects, Murphy publicly reiterated his displeasure.

“They have really badly behaved,” he said. “Let down a lot of folks. I just can’t tell you how angry I am at these folks.”

Bracken, for one, said he was glad to hear it.

“He’s so committed to off-shore wind – and he’s made such bold statements – how can he back off now?” he said.