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The room was abuzz at the first Legislative Manufacturing Caucus meeting of the 2022-2023 session on Thursday, focusing on the priorities of the manufacturing sector, while highlighting breweries at Source Brewery in Colts Neck.  

This conversation came a day after NJBIA and NJMEP announced their Manufacturing Counts partnership to strengthen support of the industry. 

“We know that New Jersey manufacturers need improved workforce development, support for the innovation ecosystem, a reduction in mounting burdensome regulations and protections from liability,” said NJBIA Chief Government Affairs Officer Chrissy Buteas. “These priorities were all discussed, and we saw strong enthusiasm for them at this meeting. It was a great exchange of ideas for the manufacturing industry in New Jersey.” 

After a tour of the facility with NJMEP, NJBIA, legislators and alcoholic beverage manufacturers, there was a presentation and discussion on the obstacles confronting the industry. Specifically, they spoke of the state’s overly burdensome regulations in alcoholic beverage manufacturing. Senator Michael Testa (R-1), a co-chair of the Manufacturing Caucus, called some of the regulation “arbitrary and capricious.” 

“While many people don’t think of them as such, small- and mid-size breweries, distilleries, and wineries, such as Source Brewing, comprise a rapidly growing segment of New Jersey’s manufacturing economy,” Testa said. 

“Acknowledging how crucial manufacturing’s economic multiplier is to New Jersey, I am committed to working with the Legislative Manufacturing Caucus and the alcoholic beverage makers to craft a more conducive environment for this often used, but little understood sector of the manufacturing industry. We all should raise a glass to these exciting enterprises for the jobs they create, the revenue they produce, and the enthusiasm they fuel,” Testa said. 

NJBIA Vice President of Government Affairs Christopher Emigholz ran down some policy priorities for the manufacturing industry, including the following: 

  • A-2487 (DePhillips) – This bill follows the NJBIA Indicators of Innovation recommendation to enhance New Jersey’s existing qualified research and development expenses tax credit.  “This will stimulate innovation on which manufacturers rely,” Emigholz said. 
  • S-659 (Oroho/Greenstein)/A-2014 (Conaway, Wirths) – Establishing the Manufacturing in Higher Education Act. Said Emigholz: “Workforce development is one of the drivers of our manufacturing industry, and this bill provides a comprehensive and multifaceted plan to improve the quality of the manufacturing workforce.” 
  • A resolution to permanently establish the Legislative Manufacturing Caucus, which was borne of NJBIA’s recommendations in 2017. “The Caucus has been a significant help to the sector, and its work needs to continue. With new legislative leadership, it is important to formally declare that there will be a bicameral and bipartisan caucus going forward to highlight the sector’s unique importance to the state economy and unique needs,” Emigholz said. 

Emigholz also spoke of the upcoming work to be done by the Manufacturing Counts partnership between NJMEP and NJBIA. Both are embarking on an engagement campaign of New Jersey manufacturers for the purposes of building a stronger grassroots network and utilizing government affairs events and other networking events from both groups. 

This will include opportunities for the sharing of peer-to-peer best practices and additional surveying and research to bring a deeper understanding of the needs and concerns of manufacturers. 

Armed with greater information and collaboration, NJBIA and NJMEP will then advance a timely, relevant, and specific agenda with prioritized actions items for the Legislative Manufacturing Caucus, the full Legislature, and the Murphy administration. 

For more on the Manufacturing Counts partnership, click here.