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In testimony before the Senate Economic Growth Committee today, NJBIA Chief Government Affairs Officer Christopher Emigholz said New Jersey needs to better capitalize on opportunities for pro-growth investment, while reducing taxes and regulatory burdens to improve the state’s economic landscape since the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We have an unrelenting tax environment,” Emigholz told the committee. “We are the only state in the entire country where we are in the top tier of our corporate taxes, income taxes, sales taxes and property taxes.  

“When it comes to regulations, we mandate too many things that make us an outlier. We’ve got to find a balance with taxes and regulations. Let’s be in the middle. Let’s not make New Jersey an outlier where we’re worse than other states. 

“If we find that right balance, we’re going to get that bang for our buck with the investments we make,” Emigholz said. “And if we’re not making those investments, then it doesn’t matter what we’re doing because we’re not leveling the playing field for New Jersey businesses.” 

A copy of Emigholz’s full written testimony to the committee can be found here. 

The Senate Economic Growth Committee, chaired by Senator Nilsa Cruz-Perez, held the hearing with multiple business organizations to obtain perspectives and recommendations on racial disparities in public contracts awarded and the economic landscape in the wake of the pandemic. 

Emigholz noted that New Jersey needs to do more with workforce development, investment in innovation and the manufacturing industry, and investments in infrastructure.  

“With workforce development, we’ve done some good things,” Emigholz said. “But we haven’t done enough when it comes to the healthcare workforce shortage. 

“We have not done enough on childcare – the industry that underpins the entire workforce. We’ve not done enough to align our K-12 system and our higher education system with the needs of the economy.” 

For investments, Emigholz noted that there was no new money in Gov. Phil Murphy’s proposed budget to spur the CHIPS innovation industry. 

The federal CHIPS and Science Act authorizes nearly $280 billion for domestic research and manufacturing of semiconductors, but New Jersey must match funds or show investment plans to compete for those dollars.  

“The federal money is there for the taking,” he said. “We just don’t seem to be in a place to do that.” 

For innovation, Emigholz said the $7 million allocated in Gov. Murphy’s proposed FY25 budget for an “AI Moonshot” was not enough. 

“That’s not a moonshot,” Emigholz said. “I want to put big money toward something. Use ARPA and Cares Act money, invest in something that’s going to make a difference and make us a leader in innovation.” 

Emigholz also concurred with the many business groups who testified saying New Jersey needed to do much more to address racial disparities in awarding public contracts. 

“Lifting up these diverse businesses lifts up the entire business community in New Jersey,” Emigholz said.