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Sweeney Addresses NJBIA’s Policy Forum on Economic Value of Fiscal Reforms

Discusses Poll Showing Public’s Dissatisfaction with Handling of Public Finances

Trenton – Continuing to advocate for the fiscal and economic reforms needed to avert future financial crises, Senate President Steve Sweeney spoke at the New Jersey Business and Industry Associations policy forum today where he emphasized the economic value of bringing fiscal reforms to public finances.

Senator Sweeney addressed NJBIA’s Government Affairs Policy Committee 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.”

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.”

Also participating were BIA’s President and CEO Michele N. Siekerka, Esq., Chrissy Buteas, Chief Government Affairs Officer, Frank Robinson, VP of Government Affairs and Grassroots, Mike Wallace, VP of Government Affairs, Andrew Musick, VP of Government Affairs, Tony Bawidamann, VP of Government Affairs, Ray Cantor, VP of Government Affairs, and Nicole Sandelier, Director of Economic Policy Research.

“NJBIA was pleased to host Senator Sweeney at today’s Government Affairs policy committee 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.”

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.”

The Economic and Fiscal Policy Workgroup held its initial organizational meeting on January 30, 2018. Over the course of six months, the Workgroup held meetings that included presentations by policy experts on critical issues and robust discussion of the pros and cons of potential solutions.