Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto shared their views on economic development, property taxes and energy with more than 100 NJBIA members on March 26 as part of the Association’s Meet the Decision Makers series.
They also reiterated their support for Career and Technical Education a little over a month after helping NJBIA launch the NJ Employer Coalition for Technical Education to promote greater cooperation between business and schools.
For Sweeney, economic development is the solution to some of New Jersey’s biggest problems. Take the cost of state pensions and benefits, for instance. Sweeney agrees with Governor Chris Christie’s assessment that they are taking up a lot of the new spending, but not because the pension and benefits reforms enacted a couple of years ago were not enough.
“If we grow our economy, we will have the money we need for discretionary spending,” Sweeney said.
Prieto agreed, and pointed to the expansion of job-creation and investment incentives in last year’s Economic Opportunity Act, which expanded state incentives to more mid-sized companies and to other areas of the state. Before that, economic incentives were offered only in a few select areas in the state and structured so that only a limited number of larger companies could qualify. “We have a shot at creating a whole lot of opportunities,” Prieto said.
“We want there to be economic development throughout the state.”