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Assembly Republicans hold roundtable discussion with business leaders


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Assemblywoman Maria Rodriguez-Gregg (R-Medford) hosted a roundtable discussion Thursday with various members of the state's business community.
Assemblywoman Maria Rodriguez-Gregg (R-Medford) hosted a roundtable discussion Thursday with various members of the state's business community. - (ANDREW GEORGE)

Assemblywoman Maria Rodriguez-Gregg (R-Medford) led a roundtable discussion Thursday in Trenton with business leaders from various industries and sectors, seeking feedback on the state’s business climate and future economic prospects.

Joined by Assemblyman Dave Rible (R-Wall Township), Rodriguez-Gregg opened the meeting by contrasting the need for business-friendly initiatives with Wednesday’s news that Elmwood Park-based Sealed Air, a Fortune 500 maker of Bubble Wrap and other packaging, will be moving its global headquarters to North Carolina.

“That type of shift we did not want to see,” Rodriguez-Gregg said.

New Jersey’s high-tax climate was frequently mentioned by business leaders as being a major deterrent for businesses seeking to operate within the state.

“Anywhere we can cut, we should be cutting,” New Jersey Business & Industry Association First Vice President David Brogan said in regard to taxes.

Other issues individually discussed included the recent minimum wage increase through constitutional amendment, the push for statewide paid sick-leave, unpredictable budget cycles and the continued implementation of provisions under the Affordable Care Act.

As members of the business community have often previously noted, it’s not one singular issue that they fear the most, but rather all of the items they view to be unfriendly to business as a collective.

“All these things make executives and business owners take a step back and say, ‘What are they doing in New Jersey?’ ” Brogan said.

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“It’s not one thing,” said Brad Molotsky, executive vice president and general counsel for Brandywine Realty Trust. “It’s all of it.”

Michael Egenton, senior vice president of government relations for the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, said that Trenton and the business community go back and forth between working together and against one another.

“We take five steps forward and 10 steps back,” Egenton said.

Despite this, Egenton said that ultimately, all parties at the table want to see New Jersey’s economy succeed. It’s a matter of agreeing on how to achieve it.

“We all have the same goal,” Egenton said.

James Hughes, economist and dean of the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers, gave a presentation on the state’s recent fiscal performance and outlook.

Other attendees featured representatives from the food service, health care and real estate industries, among others.


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Andrew George

Andrew George

Andrew George covers the Statehouse from NJBIZ's Trenton bureau. Born and raised in N.J., Andrew has also spent time as a reporter in D.C., Texas and Pa. His email is and he is @AndrGeorge on Twitter.



TOm said:
Until the legislature has the courage to change the way education is funded in NJ and ceases to depend on property taxes as the major means of financing government, few business will want to move here or stay here. the cost of living is too high for employees of major companies, Education funding needs to be done on a per pupil basis -- not handing out hundreds of millions to cities where most of the money is wasted. The legislators also need to cut state regulations that drive up property taxes and return money to the municipalities that is rightfully theirs -- such as the utility franchise fee. The NJ -GOP talks a good game, but never comes through, because they are either afraid of the liberal media or the pressure groups that benefit from high property taxes. There is a total lack of courage and foresight in Trenton and unfortunately we can't just blame the Democrats. I don't see a lot of Republicans standing up and fighting hard for a new property tax formula. They are meek and are not fighting for anything other than their own re-election. Sadly, the state's economy will continue to tank until New Jersey becomes Detroit.

July 24, 2014 8:05 pm

Kem Balani said:
Business owners and residents WILL continue to leave New Jersey UNTIL A LARGE PROPERTY TAX CUT is passed, to make NJ only No.2 among the highest property-tax state. Right now it continues to hold the un-enviable distinction of having the HIGHEST PROPERTY TAX in the NATION !

The 2 percent property-tax cap has been ineffective in stopping businesses and homeowners from leaving this state. With the cap, property taxes have gone up 13.5 in last three years, according to a recent Star Ledger news item.

The current property tax cap law has too many loopholes that allows teachers, police and municipal employees to get ever higher salaries, pensions and health benefits.

We need a leader and followers to agree to CUT SPENDING IN NEW JERSEY - ON THE STATE AND LOCAL (city and town) LEVELS.

So far, Christie has not succeeded in this effort. Despite his campaign promise to cut property taxes, the result has been HIGHER property taxes.

July 24, 2014 2:55 pm

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