Legislature and business community: Perfect together?

Bracken: State of State address could be perfect kickoff to groups working together for benefit of N.J.

Gov. Phil Murphy’s State of the State address emphasized affordability and continuing to grow a fair, strong and inclusive economy to create the best state to raise a family. He mentioned several times the need to “work together” to achieve those goals.

We congratulate the governor and the Legislature on the accomplishments of the last six years that have made economic progress.

We applaud the many initiatives the governor outlined in his address to build on past achievements. These initiatives — and others — will capitalize on opportunities available to the state to help us achieve economic leadership.

However, there is much work to be done to implement these initiatives — and plans need to be articulated to begin to turn them into action.

We need a stronger and larger economic base that generates reliable, organic and stable revenue to fund current and proposed programs. The most logical way to achieve that goal is to grow our business community by reducing the tax and regulatory burdens currently in place and providing more support to employers to make our state more business-friendly.

To be effective and efficient in accomplishing all of the above, we need a regular, ongoing, constructive dialogue between the business community, the state Legislature and the Governor’s Office.  This is imperative to “working together” to address issues that are blocking potential economic growth.

In the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce’s previously announced economic agenda, some proposed items that will assist in achieving the goals outlined in the governor’s address are:

  • Replenishing the state’s Unemployment Insurance Fund, as many states have done, instead of relying on payroll tax increases on employers;
  • Reenergizing the state’s Government Efficiency and Regulatory Review Commission to identify inefficiencies and overly burdensome regulations that hurt businesses and stifle economic growth;
  • Ensuring there are more public contract opportunities awarded to minority businesses and there are more career opportunities for minority workers at all levels. We are partnering with diverse chambers of commerce on this priority; and
  • Creating an Economic Council that meets on a regular basis, comprised of members of the business community, the state Legislature and the Governor’s Office, to discuss economic issues.

All these items will be discussed in more detail at the chamber’s ReNew Jersey Business Summit, scheduled for March 26-27 at Harrah’s Atlantic City.

The governor, the state Legislature and the business community understand the enormous economic potential that our state is capable of achieving. Working together, we can make the state more affordable, we can make the state the best place to raise a family and we can become the most attractive state to operate a business.

Tom Bracken is the CEO of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce.