As we get ready to turn the page on yet another year, the one thing that goes without saying is that 2014 has been eventful.
No matter your industry — entertainment, retail, real estate, services, something else — there were a number of stories that touched on how you look at your business, your competition and the landscape. Here are a few of our favorites.
Bridgegate: Sick of hearing about this? Take heart; you’re not alone. But you can’t write the impact of this off. We won’t go so far as to say the experience humbled Chris Christie; it doesn’t seem anything could. But his careful rally since the most damaging reports is a nod to his skill as a politician. It seems unlikely there will be lasting damage to his reputation.
Atlantic City: Lasting damage is the theme for A.C., which presided over a cadre of casino closings amid continued plunging revenue and growing disinterest in the city as a gaming or destination resort. The weakness of online gaming and failure of sports betting are compounding an already complex problem.
Big Ten: Well, Rutgers’ performance on the gridiron left something to be desired in conference play, but those who expected the Scarlet Knights to languish in the basement were way off. The program showed it belonged and qualified for its ninth bowl game in 10 years. It’s a good start, but the program still has work to do.
Transportation Trust Fund: Unbelievably, it looks as though the state finally will raise the gas tax as a result of a number of developments this year, from Christie naming Jamie Fox to run the Department of Transportation, to falling gas prices, to public reluctance to borrow to fix woebegone bridges and roads. The latest update — a poll showing voters are opposed to a tax hike — represents another speed bump to what seems inevitable.
Incentives: It was a quieter year on this front, but one of the most lucrative decisions — $107 million for Lockheed Martin to create labs in Camden — is a good example of what these programs need to be about. It’s a major, stable employer claiming space in a troubled city. More awards like this, and the state will have less explaining to do when the public grumbles about corporate welfare, however mistakenly.