East Windsor – Continuing to advocate for the fiscal and economic reforms needed to avert future financial crises, Senate President Steve Sweeney spoke at the joint New Jersey Business and Industry Associations (NJBIA) and New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce policy forum today where he emphasized the economic value of bringing fiscal reforms to public finances.
Senator Sweeney participated in “Meet the Decision Makers,” an event that features key New Jersey policy figures. Senator Sweeney spoke about the “Path to Progress” report issued by the 25-member study group that provides a working blueprint to achieve the operational and structural reforms needed to restore financial stability and affordable government.
“Public finances have a real impact on the state’s economy, including the business community,” said Senator Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “We can’t grow our way out of it, we can’t tax our way out of it, and it won’t go away by ignoring it. If we refuse to make the needed reforms, we won’t have the ability to fully fund our schools, lower college tuition costs, take over Special Education costs, fix NJ Transit or make other investments to promote job creation and economic growth.”
The discussions included proposals to address soaring pension and benefit costs, hold down property taxes, make government and school districts more efficient, assess the efficiency of our tax structure and leverage state assets.
“Government must learn how to operate more efficiently with reduced costs and more effectively with the delivery of vital services,” said Senator Sweeney. “We have a working plan to make immediate and long-term reforms that are called for in the ‘Path to Progress’ report. It is a wide-ranging plan that gets at the root causes of the fiscal problems that are creating so much discontent with the people we serve.”
Also participating were BIA’s President and CEO Michele N. Siekerka, Esq., Chrissy Buteas, Chief Government Affairs Officer, Thomas A. Bracken, President and CEO, NJ State Chamber of Commerce and Michael A. Egenton, Executive VP of Government Relations, NJ State Chamber of Commerce.
“NJBIA was pleased to host Senator Sweeney at today’s Meet the Decision Makers meeting,” said Michele N. Siekerka. “We all want an economic climate that supports business growth, creates jobs and offers the opportunity for continued economic expansion. We also seek structural reforms to put New Jersey back on the path of being more competitive and affordable. As such, we look forward to continuing to work with the Senate President and others to help develop the strategies that were outlined today and to promote the continued expansion of New Jersey’s economy.”
“Senator Sweeney was the ideal speaker for our joint event with NJBIA,” said Thomas A. Bracken, President and CEO of the NJ State Chamber of Commerce. “We have a long history of working together, creating solutions, and driving New Jersey forward. Any time business can work constructively with the government, everyone in the state benefits. We look forward to much more of that interaction.”
Senator Sweeney also spoke about the Rutgers-Eagleton/NJBIA Poll showing the public’s dissatisfaction with the handling of state finances in New Jersey.
“This poll shows that the public is fully aware of the mounting fiscal problems in New Jersey that threaten our ability to provide needed services, that choke off economic growth and make life increasingly unaffordable for residents throughout the state,” said Senator Sweeney. “The people are frustrated by the failure of public officials to make the reforms needed to address the problems and the actions required to reduce living costs. Their discontent is growing.”
(Picture from left to right: Senate President Steve Sweeney; Michele N. Siekerka, Esq., NJBIA President and CEO; Thomas A. Bracken, President and CEO, NJ State Chamber of Commerce; Michael A. Egenton, Executive VP of Government Relations, NJ State Chamber of Commerce; and Chrissy Buteas, NJBIA Chief Government Affairs Officer.)