NJBIA study pessimistic about looming economic reform, Siekerka says

Andrew Sheldon//June 6, 2016

NJBIA study pessimistic about looming economic reform, Siekerka says

Andrew Sheldon//June 6, 2016

Citing an independent study conducted by the New Jersey Business & Industry Association, the group’s president Michele Siekerka expressed pessimism regarding the state legislature’s discussion on economic policy that will continue on June 6 through the next few weeks.“(June 6) begins the next round of hearings on the constitutional mandate and NJBIA felt it was important to remind everybody that this bill does not stand alone as we consider its practical impacts on New Jersey’s economy and New Jersey residents,” she said.

The economic policies currently in play include new requirements on paid sick leave, a constitutional amendment to fund the public pension, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour and additional information regarding bills on flexible hours.

“Right now, New Jersey is at a pivotal point in our economic recovery (and) just three years into slow and steady growth,” she said. “We entered 2016 with positive vibes for continued, steady growth as we learned from our business outlook survey from the beginning of the year.

“Then, within a matter of weeks, if not days, the piling on of economic policies commenced.”

Already in play at that time was paid sick leave, which Siekerka cited as a challenge to New Jersey businesses and, in particular, small businesses.

According to Siekerka, 70 percent of small businesses across New Jersey already provide paid sick leave. She said, coupled with the other economic policies in play, these new laws could have a negative impact on the state’s economy.

In her statements, Siekerka urged for a “comprehensive reform agenda that would make New Jersey affordable for all New Jersey residents.

“We all know affordability is already an issue for New Jersey residents and the legislative trifecta I’ve just referenced are policies that will take New Jersey in the wrong economic direction.”

According to the study conducted by the NJBIA, when the four most significant taxes in the state of New Jersey — income tax, property tax, corporate business tax and sales tax — are considered together on average across the nation, New Jersey ranks at 51, including the District of Columbia.

The study also looked to illustrate where the Garden State ranked in the nation in regard to outmigration.

“We also know New Jersey has suffered a loss in revenue over the last decade and we recently took a closer look at the year of 2013, which our report referenced as the year in which we lost $3 billion in net adjusted gross income,” Siekerka said.

The study standardized the out migration numbers to the GDP across the nation and found New Jersey again ranked last, at 51.

“New Jersey is at the bottom of every ranking, which includes out migration and the loss of net inflow to the state,” she said.

Siekerka urged for policies that look at “both sides of the balance sheet, revenue and spending; an agenda that doesn’t just look at what New Jersey residents earn, but one that looks at what New Jersey residents must spend in order to survive and why.”