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Incentives reform just the start for a busy fall

Businesses await battles on minimum wage, sick leave

For business owners tired of watching the months of back-and-forth battling over corporate incentives reform, the signing of the Economic Opportunity Act by Gov. Chris Christie must be welcome relief.


Until they realize how much is left to do on it.

Michael Egenton, senior vice president of government relations for the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, said while the passage of the bill was monumental, business leaders must now do their part to promote it, both here and to out-of-state interests.

Although Egenton said it’s important to let a bill of such magnitude have a chance to stand on its own for a little while, he figures there’s “continued legwork to be done” on the legislation.

“I just think everyone’s role now is waving the banner (and) getting the word out,” he said.

State Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Union), a prime sponsor of the bill, has already said that through new legislation, he intends on tackling an affordable housing provision added in by the Assembly.

That language requires residential builders who receive subsidies to set aside 20 percent of their units for affordable housing. Lesniak said that provision makes residential development in some of New Jersey’s cities unaffordable.

Reflecting on the passage of the bipartisan bill, Egenton expressed the importance of “staying the course,” in terms of the dynamic between Christie and Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford), along with other members of the Legislature. The level of productivity in Trenton draws a stark contrast to that of Washington, Egenton said.

“We always stress that we don’t want to turn into Washington, D.C., where there’s gridlock,” Egenton said. “It just seems like they’re spinning their wheels.”

For Laurie Ehlbeck, state director for the National Federation of Independent Business, the biggest upcoming challenge in Trenton will take place inside the ballot box, not the Statehouse.

Andrew George

NJBIZ Business Events