Bramnick: Canada is sending NJ a warning
New Jersey governments at every level, colleges and transportation authorities would have to buy only American-made products under a bi-partisan package of bills that could receive final legislative approval Thursday if it passes the full Assembly.
The sponsors said it is a job creation bill package, but the top Republican in the Assembly does not support it, and warns New Jersey could face retaliation from our neighbors to the north.
"Today, we are a global society and things are made with parts that are made in other places around the world. This (legislation) would send such a terrible message to international companies that are based in New Jersey that you're going to see retaliation," said Assembly GOP Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield). "I spoke specifically to the Canadian Consult General who indicated that they're looking at retaliation if New Jersey begins to restrict commerce from Canada to New Jersey."
Governments are already required to buy American, but the "Made in America" bills expand on that to require the same from bi-state agencies. That would require legislation to be passed in neighboring states too.
"Enacting this legislation would be a very dangerous policy for New Jersey despite the fact that I would like people to buy American. Conceptually I like the bill, but when you look under the hood you're sending a message to companies around the world that New Jersey restricts trade," Bramnick said.
One bill in the package would require vendors contracting with state agencies, including state colleges, to buy products manufactured in America to fulfill their contracts.
The other bills would require the same thing for the Delaware River Joint Toll Commission, the Delaware River and Bay Authority, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the Delaware River Port Authority.
"When you look at the cost here of the job loss, the loss in taxes, the stress on social programs, it's cheaper to buy a product here," said co-sponsor state Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford) when he unveiled the legislation in May. "What we're calling on is for all of our authorities and colleges to buy American. New Jersey and the United States are going to become a manufacturing powerhouse again."