‘What’s wrong’ with NJ commerce? Officials plan discussion this month
"What's wrong with this state?" Business leaders and key Trenton political players will sit down together in Atlantic City later this month to tackle that issue as it pertains to Garden State commerce.
The New Jersey Chamber of Commerce will gather business leaders and politicians at the Borgata Sept. 17 and 18.
"Open dialogue communication does wonders for helping solve problems. That is what we are trying to create here with the legislature," Chamber President Tom Bracken said.
Legislators scheduled to attend the summit include State Senate President Steve Sweeney, Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean, Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto and Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick.
According to Bracken, it is a very competitive world in the United States, trying to lure businesses in and out of states. He said that by working on the issues that we have identified, we are going to make New Jersey more competitive, and not only keep businesses here, but possibly attract businesses to come into the state.
"I think by addressing these issues, we start to then take advantage of these resources that we have and the combination of those two is pretty powerful," Bracken said.
So what are the issues that legislators plan to discuss during the summit? A survey of 413 Jersey business leaders identified the state's tax structure, red tape, a crumbling transportation infrastructure and workforce readiness as their main concerns.
Among the findings:
- 6 percent of those surveyed were "very optimistic" about the near-term future of New Jersey's economy;
- 25 percent, were "somewhat pessimistic";
- 4 percent thought New Jersey's economy is "much better" now versus a year ago;
- 42 percent believe the economy is "somewhat better"; and
- 36 percent saw no change.
In addition, when asked where New Jersey's economy will be a year from now, 6 percent said it will be, "much better," 41 percent said it will be, "somewhat better," and 39 percent saw, "no change."
Bracken says he hopes to expand the dialogue between business and state government when they get to AC.
"The end result of this summit being much more communication," he said. "This state is blessed with an enormous amount of resources, and there are a lot of things that would attract people to come to New Jersey, and a lot of things that keep people here."