New Jersey lawmakers are considering a bill meant to encourage economic development in the state. Sen. Joseph Kyrillos (R-13) is one of the sponsors of the New Jersey Economic Opportunity Act, which he says will give companies a reason to come to or stay in the Garden State. He also told NJ Today Senior Correspondent Desirée Taylor that the approved state budget that waits for Gov. Chris Christie’s signature spends less than the budget of 2008 but includes all necessary spending.
Kyrillos said the need for the New Jersey Economic Opportunity Act has come because there are still many residents who don’t have jobs or are concerned about their next jobs. He explained that these are challenging economic times and New Jersey is competing with states around the region and countries around the world in a global marketplace.
“We want to make New Jersey as attractive as possible for businesses to come here, to relocate, to expand if they’re already here. So that’s what this bill attempts to do,” he said.
Over the last 15 years, Kyrillos said government has done a good job of setting up economic incentives to offset the high cost of doing business in New Jersey, which includes high taxes, insurance rates and wages. He said there are currently a number of programs, which could get confusing.
“We want to make it more user friendly. So we’re aggregating them all into one big program — New Jersey Grow — run by the Economic Development Authority and it’s very, very important to many deals that are in the marketplace right now, big companies from around the world and in New York that might not come here were it not for these incentives,” Kyrillos said.
Legislators passed the state budget this week and Christie has vowed to sign it without line-item vetoes. “It was a bipartisan measure and we got it done a week early,” Kyrillos said. “Usually, as you know, we’re here til midnight June 30.”
Kyrillos said lawmakers realized there wasn’t much flexibility to make changes to the budget Christie proposed in the winter. “We’re spending less than we did in the last Corzine budget of 2008. But we’re spending more in public education. We’re doing the essential things that government needs to do — to run the roads, ensuring public safety, send money to our schools and perform very important and generous human and social services,” he said.
One area that can’t be changed is an increase in taxes, according to Kyrillos. “I won’t allow for that. And I know a lot of my colleagues won’t. Certainly the governor won’t because we already are a high-tax place,” he said. “We just talked about the economic bill. We don’t want to have a dis-incentive to come to New Jersey.”
A report came out today showing that some of the illegal contributions made by a handful of Birdsall Services Group executives went to Democrats and Republicans in Monmouth County, Kyrillos’ home county. He said a few people made bad decisions and hopes the incident serves as a cautionary tale for the future.
“You have a handful of executives that did the wrong thing and they’re gonna pay a very, very significant punishment for it,” Kyrillos said. “We’ve unwound that episode and hopefully it’s a big signal to companies out there to obey the law.”