Trenton – Speaking at the New Jersey Business and Industry Association’s (NJBIA) Public Policy Forum online conference today, Senate President Steve Sweeney expressed optimism that President-elect Joe Biden and Congress can pass a bipartisan stimulus package to spur New Jersey’s recovery from the economic and fiscal impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
“While we have some bad weeks ahead of us, I am excited about the vaccines being developed, and I will be one of the first in line,” said Senator Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “Our focus now is on the recovery and the next budget, and I am optimistic that Biden will be able to work with the Senate and that we can get back to work by next summer.
“We are going to need to get stimulus relief from the federal government because a lot of small businesses stayed alive only because of the Payroll Protection Plan loans, and we need another round desperately. We also need funding for infrastructure, including money to extend the Hudson Bergen Light Rail to Englewood and build the Gloucester Camden Light Rail,” he said.
Sweeney praised New Jersey’s pharmaceutical companies and university researchers for the role they have been playing in coronavirus vaccine and treatment development, and lauded the state’s hospitals and healthcare practitioners for the progress they had made in understanding how to treat the virus, which has resulted in fewer patients on ventilators and lower death rates.
“I don’t think we need another full shutdown,” Senator Sweeney said, adding that he and Assemblyman John Burzichelli (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland) are working on legislation that would allow regional shutdowns and reopenings based on the level of the health threat.
Senator Sweeney was joined on the NJBIA Leadership Panel by Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean and Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick.
“I am grateful the Senate President was able to join us for this important panel,” said Michele Siekerka, President and CEO of the NJBIA. “Senator Sweeney has been a strong advocate for the business community and I know his leadership will be invaluable as we work to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The Public Policy Forum is posted on the NJBIA YouTube page and can be viewed here.