Somerset, Hunterdon & Morris Chambers Collaborate on Opportunity NJ Presentation
BRIDGEWATER, NJ – “OpportunityNJ (ONJ) is a non-partisan, grassroots coalition comprised of New Jersey interests representing employers, employees, business, trade groups, community organizations and other concerned citizens in the State.
With no direct ties to political parties or government, ONJ serves as an independent voice to provide data based education about New Jersey policy actions – and to support policies that encourage job growth, affordability and prosperity in New Jersey.”
On Monday, November 18, 2019, a collaboration of the Somerset County, Hunterdon County, and Morris County Chambers hosted at the Raritan Valley Community College to present Opportunity NJ’s plan to make New Jersey more competitive and affordable.
Opportunity NJ co-chairs Michelle Siekerka, Esq., President and CEO of the NJ Business and Industry Association and Tom Bracken, President and CEO of the NJ Chamber of Commerce led an interactive discussion on the comprehensive plan that shows how to create an business environment in New Jersey that encourages job creation, business opportunity, private sector investment, and an affordable New Jersey for all residents.
A coalition of most of the regional Chambers of Commerce in the state, ONJ represents over four-million employees. Formed six years ago to allow these employees to speak to the governor and legislative representatives with a bigger and unified voice, the state’s working population now has a seat at the table on issues with the potential to make the state more affordable and competitive.
To foster the needed spark to the state’s economy, ONJ developed the Plan for an Affordable NJ, an economic master plan outlining growth and efficiency strategies that will create a stronger economy by driving programs for affordability and economic competitiveness statewide.
The initial goal of the Plan is to establish a New Jersey Economic Development and Advisory Council, a business-led body that includes diverse private sector stakeholders whose charge will be to provide input and offer best practices on policies that can lead to job creation in New Jersey.
Next the Plan addresses fiscally challenged and outdated legacy systems in the critical areas of pension reform, infrastructure, and both property and corporate income taxes. It is understood that it is necessary to fix what is not working before committing to new priority spending.
As the highest taxed state in the country, controlling spending is the priority before implementing initiatives intended to raise more money. Revenue generation is incorporated into the Plan with focus on the “innovation economy” and programs that support and save existing businesses. There is also focus on shared service programs and the cost of education.
With the understanding that workforce development and programs to stimulate job growth are high on the priority list, the Plan recommends a moratorium on costly state mandates and simplification of permitting and licensing procedures from the municipal to the state levels.
Because of the divisive political atmosphere in Trenton, the united voice of the business community represented by Opportunity NJ is an unprecedented approach to making New Jersey affordable once again. By taking a grassroots approach to change, ONJ will communicate to state leadership that ONJ has a plan; has a coalition; and deserves a seat at the table.
The Plan for an Affordable NJ may be viewed at: http://opportunitynj.org/plan-affordable-nj/.