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N.J. business insiders torn on potential impact of GW Bridge scandal

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Sign on the George Washington Bridge
Sign on the George Washington Bridge - (Shinya Suzuki / http://flic.kr/p/9FMsrP)

The New Jersey economy is showing encouraging signs of growth, and business leaders hope the scandal now enveloping the administration of Gov. Chris Christie won't slow the momentum of recovery.

Several close watchers of the state's business scene reacted to the scandal Friday morning during the New Jersey Bankers Association economic forum in Somerset, but declined to be quoted by name.

The impact on business in New Jersey "will depend on what happens going forward," one individual said. "What I worry about is, is there anyone else in his office involved? I believe the governor had nothing to do with it and had no knowledge of it, but he will look bad if somebody else in his office is also involved."

But this individual doubted the scandal will hurt the state economy.

"(Christie) is a competent governor. He is running a good administration. If more happens, it will hurt him personally, but I don't think it will have any impact on the economy. He has been good for the economy."

Another business expert said the full story may not have unfolded in the GW Bridge scandal.

"Given the sophistication of information technology today, there are going to be a lot of people searching everywhere. And it could all turn out great for Christie," the expert said.

But, the expert added, "the longer it drags on, the more embarrassing it is for New Jersey. And it comes at a time that the state's economy is on the upswing — let's hope this doesn't throw a monkey wrench into it."

Another individual said the impact on business will depend on how this plays out.

"The Christie administration is a very business-friendly administration. Frankly, the legislature has become more business friendly, too. So we hope there is nothing that happens that interrupts that momentum. The focus should be on the economy and creating jobs and to the extent that this becomes a distraction in any way, that interrupts that momentum, it could be potentially negative."

The state's economic recovery is not very robust, this individual said, so "everybody has to keep their oar in the water and keep working at it."




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Beth Fitzgerald

Beth Fitzgerald

Beth Fitzgerald reports on health care, small business and higher education. She joined NJBIZ in 2008 after a 34-year career at the Star-Ledger and has been reporting on business in New Jersey since 1978. Her email is beth@njbiz.com and she is @bethfitzgerald8 on Twitter.

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