Affordability and Investments in Economic Growth Should Be Priorities
TRENTON – A new study showing that more residents moved out of New Jersey than any other state underscores the need for fiscal reforms that will make the state more affordable and allow for the types of investments that will retain and attract workers and their families, said Senate President Steve Sweeney.
Senator Sweeney noted that the United Van Lines 42nd Annual National Movers Study, which tracks state-to-state migration patterns, found that there were twice as many outbound moves from New Jersey as inbound moves. New Jersey’s outbound relocation percentage of 67 percent was the highest in the nation in 2018. The findings in the relocation report are consistent with recent migration patterns driven by such factors as cost of living, job growth, state budgetary challenges and the appeal of a warmer climate, according to a top public policy economist at UCLA.
“We can’t do much about the weather, but we have the ability to make the reforms needed to address deeply rooted state fiscal problems, to help make New Jersey more affordable, and to make the investments needed to foster job retention and long-term economic expansion,” said Senator Sweeney, referring to the Path to Progress report issued by the bipartisan, blue-ribbon Economic and Fiscal Policy Workgroup.
“We need to make New Jersey a place where current residents choose to stay, where young people can have a future, and where businesses and people from other states want to move to,” said Senator Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “If we don’t make the structural reforms needed to fix our state finances, pension and health benefit costs will continue to grow and consume all of our revenue growth. Because of this, we won’t have the resources we need to support education and job training programs, to improve our infrastructure and to invest in the development of new technologies that are critical to economic growth.”
Senator Sweeney also took note of the just-released WARN notices showing that more than 11,000 workers at 55 companies in New Jersey were issued layoff notices in 2018. The figures, compiled by the state Department of Labor under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, signal that their jobs are in jeopardy.
“These WARN notifications are bad news for the jobholders and serve as a warning sign for the state’s economic well-being,” said Senator Sweeney. “They serve as an advance notice of potential large-scale layoffs and they cut across a broad sector of businesses, including retailers, healthcare and the pharmaceutical industry. It is something to take seriously.”
The Economic and Fiscal Policy Workgroup was co-chaired by Senate Budget Chair Paul Sarlo (D-Bergen), Senate Republican Budget Officer Steve Oroho (R-Sussex) and Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald (D–Camden). The panel met for more than six months and produced a series of recommendations designed to fix the underfunded pension system, reduce healthcare costs, improve education and expand shared services to hold down property taxes.