With the 2019 budget negotiations in the rearview mirror, now might be the best time to reassess the direction of the state's economy in the form of an economic master plan.
That’s according to Tom Bracken, president of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce.
“So far [Gov. Phil Murphy] has had success on the ‘fairer’ economy, with among others, the recently mandated paid sick leave and equal pay laws and paving the way for a $15 minimum wage,” Bracken said. “It’s now time for the governor to focus on creating his ‘stronger’ economy because without one, he cannot hope to sustain his ‘fairer’ one.”
Bracken ticked off issues that certainly aren’t new to the state’s economic debate: pension reform, making the state more affordable and stemming the flow of students who are migrating out of the state, also known as “brain drain.”
“Considering the budget, when you’re doing your family finances, that’s when you’re really hot on an idea,” said Scott Goldstein, communications manager for the chamber.
There is already a quasi-committee on the state’s affordability and financial woes, and the legislative leadership intends to release a report on its findings later this summer.
That committee is comprised of Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-3rd District; Senate Budget Chair Paul Sarlo, D-36th District; and Sen. Steve Oroho, R-24th District.
“They’re not the plan, but they could be components of the plan and fit very nicely with the categories of tactical steps and initiatives that need to be achieved to accomplish the end-game,” Bracken said of the committee.
Specifics of the master plan are still up in the air, Bracken said. The concept has been pitched to the Legislature and Murphy’s team.
Still, they are ideas for what this “committee, task force” or “coalition” would resemble.
“The state already has an energy master plan,” Bracken said. “They have specific dates, specific years where certain things have to be achieved.”