Legislative Oversight Committee Chair Says New Committee Holds ‘Promise’ for Garden State Industries
TRENTON – Senator Paul A. Sarlo commented that his first meeting today as Chairman of the newly formed Senate Legislative Oversight Committee is a “good first step towards a more cooperative industrial climate in New Jersey.”
“The Legislative Oversight Committee is going to be at the front of the charge, leading the way for a better regulatory process and environmentally safe manufacturing growth in New Jersey,” said Senator Sarlo, D-Bergen, Essex and Passaic. “Today’s hearing and testimony is a good first start to identify the key issues undercutting industrial viability in the Garden State. We will explore every possibility that allows our manufacturers to continue to participate as important partners in New Jersey’s economic success.”
The new Senate panel heard testimony from State officials and other interested parties on the state of manufacturing and business development initiatives. In particular, the Committee took testimony from Commissioner Susan Bass Levin of the Department of Community Affairs (DCA); Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP); New Jersey Commerce Secretary and CEO Virginia S. Bauer; and Caren S. Franzini, CEO of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA).
“Having so many different experts testify on so many different areas of policy speaks volumes about the complexity of manufacturing growth in New Jersey,” said Senator Sarlo. “In the testimony I heard today, the overarching philosophy seemed to be that we need balance between sometimes-competing interests to promote forward motion for everyone.”
Senator Sarlo noted that, along with promoting growth and relocation incentives, cutting bureaucracy and red tape is necessary to help businesses continue to be competitive.
“We have to be willing to admit that sometimes, government gets in the way of progress, especially in instances when duplication of efforts is required to appease multiple regulatory demands,” said Senator Sarlo. “These multiple demands for documentation become a hardship, especially for small to mid-sized manufacturers which may not have the economic and staff resources to meet the demand.”
Senator Sarlo added that a strong historical perspective of manufacturing’s role in New Jersey’s economy is key to avoiding the mistakes of the past, but that those mistakes should not define how the State moves ahead.
“All too often, manufacturers are the scapegoats of our past excesses, when, in large part, current manufacturing processes are far cleaner and far more economically beneficial than other forms of development,” said Senator Sarlo. “We must recognize that in New Jersey’s history, the manufacturing sector grew too big too fast, and jeopardized the quality of life of our parents and grandparents, but with proper safeguards and planning in place, we can promote economic development without the cost of a loss in strong environmental protection. As I’ve said before, economic success and a clean environment are not too mutually exclusive concepts.”
Along with Senator Sarlo serving as the Committee Chairman, the Legislative Oversight Committee members include: Senator Raymond J. Lesniak, D-Union, serving as Vice Chair; Senator Nia H. Gill, D-Essex and Passaic; Senator Gerald Cardinale, D-Bergen; and Senator Joseph M. Kyrillos, R-Monmouth and Middlesex.