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Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney, D-Gloucester, Cumberland and Salem, speaks with Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr., R-Union, Essex, Morris and Somerset, before the Governor’s address to a Joint Legislative Session on property tax reform.

TRENTON – Several bills sponsored by Senate President Steve Sweeney that would require the purchase of U.S.A. made goods for public contracts cleared the Senate today.  The “Made in America” bills are part of an ongoing effort by the Senate President to create jobs and spur economic growth in New Jersey.

The first bill, S1811, would require vendors contracting with state agencies, including state colleges, to purchase manufactured goods in the United States to fulfill their contracts. It would also require businesses that contract with the state or that receive economic development assistance to disclose job outsourcing information.

“Requiring the purchase of U.S.A. made goods for public contracts is just a matter of plain economic sense,” said Sweeney.  “President Obama has made tremendous strides in getting the country out of the economic mess he inherited.  But, we still have ground to gain and can always do what is needed to ensure our family and friends have jobs.”

Currently, New Jersey requires the purchase of goods manufactured in the United States for the fulfillment of public works contracts, local public contracts, state construction contracts and local school contracts.  This bill would add to that requirement contracts by state agencies and state colleges, including state universities. The bill would allow for a waiver in case the products are not manufactured in the Unites States or they are too costly (the waiver will be made public). Penalties could be imposed on a contractor who knowingly supplies products that are not manufactured in the United States.

S1811 was accompanied by four other bills that would require the use of certain U.S.A. manufactured products.  S2045 would require it for the Delaware River Joint Toll Commission; S2048 would require it for the Delaware River and Bay Authority; S2061 would require it for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; and S2062 would require it for the Delaware River Port Authority.  Recent media reports have highlighted how projects, like the raising of the BayonneBridge, are utilizing steel made in other countries.

Sponsoring the parallel bill of S2061 in the New York State Legislature are Senator John A. DeFrancesco, the Republican chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Assemblyman Joseph D. Morrelle, the Democratic Assembly Majority Leader.  Senate President Sweeney is seeking similar parallel legislation from members of the Pennsylvania and Delaware Legislatures.

The bills now all head to the Assembly.

This legislation is just part of a series of bills Senate President Sweeney has sponsored to jumpstart the state’s sagging economy.  He has sponsored, S153, the “New Jobs for New Jersey” tax credit program, which would provide incentives to small private sector employers who increase their workforce by hiring unemployed workers.  He has also sponsored S1621, which would give priority in terms of state-administered training programs to those who have suffered from long term unemployment.  At least 50% of the training funds for displaced workers would be reserved for training and employment programs at community colleges for laid off workers who have exhausted all UI benefits.

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