Come Together on Shared Economic Goals in 2024

The 2024-2025 Legislature starts its new term this month following last fall’s polarizing campaigns when candidates from both political parties spent a lot of time talking about divisive social issues.

The political strategy was to motivate voters in an off-cycle election year by triggering powerful emotions on polarizing social issues so that they would go to the polls to support a candidate who shares their views or, more often, vote against someone who does not.

NJBIA welcomes the 221st Legislature, which includes many new lawmakers due to retirements, a new legislative map and election losses. As they begin the new two-year legislative term, we hope they move away from the divisive social issues and toward important fiscal and economic issues on which all New Jerseyans can find common ground.

To be clear, social issues do matter, and New Jersey deserves credit for leading on many issues that protect our historically under-served populations. We are not suggesting that we should abandon or weaken our state’s commitment to social issues. However, we cannot allow cynical attempts to politicize these hot-button issues to divide us to the point that nothing can ever be accomplished on any issue.

Everyone wants more jobs and better paying jobs for New Jersey residents, so let us all work together – Democrats, Republicans, and the business community – to make that happen.

Every family and business, as well as both political parties in South, Central and North Jersey, care about the state’s affordability, or the lack thereof, so let us focus our time and energy on that.

Property taxes have been the scourge of all New Jerseyans for decades, so let us find the structural reforms necessary to finally make a meaningful dent in them.

Developing the quality of our future workforce is a win-win issue helping all workers and employers, so everyone should support the investments and reforms needed there.

Lingering pandemic impacts, especially on health systems, school districts and small business communities, require attention. Hospitals have sustained economic and workforce losses; schools have sustained learning loss and other impacts; and ongoing remote and hybrid work arrangements that have outlasted the pandemic itself have affected our downtown business districts. All present an opportunity to come together on solutions that keep New Jersey from lagging behind other states.

Fiscal responsibility must be a priority for lawmakers of both parties. The sustainability of ballooning state budgets matters to everyone if we want to ensure we can pay for programs that the vulnerable depend on, keep our state affordable, and avoid the need for damaging tax increases or draconian spending cuts that lie at the end of the road of unsustainable budget increases.

NJBIA is ready to partner with our new Legislature to get to work to make a better New Jersey for us all.

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