New Jersey..."the business unfriendly state" no more.   The latest survey of Garden State businesses shows Trenton making great strides to change that image.

More than 15-hundred businesses statewide took part in the survey conducted by the New Jersey Business and Industry Association. Although the survey showed business people predicting slow growth and weak hiring next year, many gave the Christie administration credit for a bright spot...helping to make Jersey a good place to conduct business. Association President Phil Kirschner says, "we are seeing more confidence in the Christie administration, and working with the Legislature, the business community sees some good things happening.

Approval ratings for the Legislature also went up, from 15 percent last year to 28 percent this year. A total of 1568 businesses in New Jersey were surveyed in every county in New Jersey.

Eighteen percent of companies said New Jersey is a good place in which to build new or expanded facilities, up from 9 percent in the previous year's survey, ending ten years of declining ratings for New Jersey in this regard.

Fifty-four percent said New Jersey is fair or average as a place for business expansion, and 28 percent said it is poor.

In comments submitted about New Jersey's business climate, one small business owner echoed a sentiment expressed by many other survey respondents: "It's better under Governor Christie than it has been in years, but it's still very difficult." When asked to identify, from a pre-determined list, the four "most troublesome" problems for New Jersey businesses, survey participants selected health insurance costs as their top problem. This was closely followed by property taxes and the overall cost of doing business in New Jersey, which were ranked second and third, respectively.