POLITICS & GOVERNMENT

Bramnick Says Economic Growth Depends on Confidence of Business Community

The state Labor Department released new unemployment figures showing a slight decline in September, going from 9.9 percent to 9.8 percent. NJ Today Managing Editor Mike Schneider spoke with Assembly Republican leader Jon Bramnick about the state’s revenue and unemployment numbers.

The jobs report comes a day after the state warned Wall Street that the combination of rising costs and slumping revenue may force the administration to make difficult mid-year changes — which could mean cuts — in the $31.7 billion spending plan.

According to Bramnick, the slight drop in unemployment and polls showing that a majority of New Jerseyans think the state is moving in the right direction are signs that the state’s economy is improving.

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“I’m not sure how Wall Street works but I can tell you when 60 percent of the people in New Jersey think the governor is doing the right thing and we’re moving in the right direction, that’s the type of news that, in my judgment, stimulates economic growth,” Bramnick said.

The jobs report shows an overall loss of 1,200 jobs. Bramnick points out that that number includes public sector jobs, a positive sign that the size of government is shrinking.”We have to cut back on the growth of government so I can understand why that number would fall,” he said.

He also cites lowering taxes in relation to the budget cuts throughout the state. “We’re trying to lower taxes in the state of New Jersey so you can understand why there would be some cutbacks by either the League of Municipalities or counties or [the] state.”

According to Bramnick, the most important factor contributing to economic growth is confidence within the business community so as to spur investment.

“[In] every economic course that I took, everyone said what people think is going to happen is the most critical issue,” said Bramnick. He uses the analogy to a potential home buyer. “If you think that house is going to go up in price the next day, you’re going to buy it; if you think another bid’s coming in, you’re going to buy it. [But] if you think things are getting worse, you’re not going to buy it,” he explained.

Approval ratings for Gov. Chris Christie, Bramnick says, is a departure from previous administrations. “It’s so different than the past — the Corzine numbers, the McGreevey numbers. Those statistics showed that they didn’t believe they were going in the right direction. So it’s going to take some work to get out of that morass, that high tax environment,” Bramnick said. “Today I wanted the speaker to post another bill that would have tax relief. These are the kind of things that would help our economy.”