Governor Murphy announced on Monday that he will be making a seven day six city tax payer funded trip to India in September with the supposed goal of strengthening economic ties between India and New Jersey. While in India Murphy will meet with government officials and industry leaders to “chart a course” to bring more business and investment to New Jersey and to “strengthen the cultural, educational and political bonds” between India and New Jersey. Meanwhile New Jersey is ranked as one of the worst business climates in the U.S. and people are leaving the state like it’s on fire. Why is Murphy not focused on strengthening bonds with New Jersey’s current business community before it’s too late?
Murphy will visit Delhi, Agra, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, and Gandhinagar. Of course no waste of tax payer funds would be complete without Murphy bringing his wife Tammy.
A July 2019 WalletHub report on the best and worst states for business ranks New Jersey 49th out of 50 states with only Rhode Island faring worse in the analysis. New Jersey ranked 33rd in average growth of small businesses and 48th in labor costs. In response to the WalletHub report Michele Siekerka of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association told NJ 101.5 radio “”As we say every day to our policy makers, we need to look at these signs and we need to take these signs, these red flags, seriously. Every day we have a new mandate on New Jersey business. These are challenging times to grow a business in the state of New Jersey”. Siekerka also told NJ 101.5 that the budget that just passed in Trenton is “nothing, nothing” like business-friendly.
“Lower business costs are what New Jersey really needs to become more competitive. The state has some of the most expensive office spaces, second highest labor costs, and its corporate taxes are among the highest, as well,” said WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez. “New Jersey’s share of engaged workers is just 29%, the fourth lowest in the country, and businesses in the state are not using technology to improve their services, or increase their capacities. It also lacks in financing accessibility,” Gonzalez added.
A January 2019 report released by moving company United Van Lines found that New Jersey is the number one state that people leave. Twice the number of people left New Jersey than came to the state last year. “The cost of living in New Jersey, the highest-taxed state in the country. That’s the main reason why,” Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson told the Press of Atlantic City at the time. “You can’t do anything about the weather, but you can most certainly do something about the property tax.”
New Jersey ranks one of the worst business climates in the U.S. A record number of people are leaving New Jersey meaning we have a shrinking labor pool and tax base. Taxes are increasing as state government spending increases. Eventually the strong national economy that is benefiting New Jersey will turn around and businesses, jobs, tax base and the labor pool will increase their exit rate. All of this begs the question why is Governor Murphy not taking advantage of the strong national economy that is currently benefiting New Jersey to address the long term problems facing New Jersey’s business climate rather than focusing on economic ties with India?
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