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Opportunity NJ Council to Push “Plan For An Affordable New Jersey”

Trenton, NJ – Opportunity NJ (ONJ) today announced the formation of the New Jersey Economic Development and Advisory Council to advance an agenda to stimulate job and median wage growth while realigning the state for regional competitiveness and affordability – leading to a stronger and fairer economy for all.

The agenda can be found in the ONJ Plan for an Affordable New Jersey, which is also being released today.

ONJ is a non-partisan coalition comprised of New Jersey organizations representing employers that employ more than 2.5 million workers. With no direct ties to political parties or government, ONJ serves as an independent voice to provide data-based education about public policy actions – and to support policies that encourage job growth, affordability, and regional competitiveness in New Jersey.

Through periodic and direct engagement with state policy leaders, the New Jersey Economic Development and Advisory Council plans to deliver information, research, and data about the impact of policies on job creation, economic stability, and growth; the tenets of the Plan. The information that will be shared will come from statewide stakeholder meetings and listening sessions that the Council will conduct, using the Plan as a guidepost for discussions. To set the framework for the creation of the Council, ONJ representatives have already met with and established a working relationship with the staffs of Governor Murphy, Senate President Sweeney, and Speaker Coughlin.

“New Jersey’s location between significant metropolitan areas, its advanced infrastructure, and its highly skilled workforce make the state an ideal center for business and commerce,” said Tom Bracken, President and CEO of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, and co-chair of ONJ. “But we must work together to restore New Jersey’s stability and affordability for residents and businesses. A New Jersey Economic Development and Advisory Council that engages directly with those responsible for creating related public policy is how we can achieve that goal.”

“New Jersey is at a critical stage on the path to securing its economic future, and remaining an attractive state for businesses,” said Michele N. Siekerka, Esq., President and CEO of New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA), and co-chair of ONJ. “To recreate a stable environment where citizens and communities can thrive, and which remains competitive to attract and retain business interests to the region, we must act now.”

The Council’s tasks will include addressing New Jersey’s fiscally challenged and outdated legacy systems, as well as stimulating job growth throughout the state. According to Siekerka and Bracken, this must include a hard look at the current pension system, school funding, and the state’s critical infrastructure systems. All possible solutions must be on the table, including pension reform, creation of public private partnerships, and strategic investments to best utilize state funds.

Stimulating job growth throughout New Jersey will require proposals to help NJ businesses adjust to recent workplace mandates and a pause on any new conditions or proposals that could negatively affect job creation. The state must examine reforms of the state’s business tax structure, review all regulatory mandates, and make economic development incentives a priority.

The Council will include members from the Board of Opportunity NJ, who are in the process of engaging leaders and representatives from various business, labor, non-profit, and regional economic development entities throughout the state to join the Council.