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New Jersey Business & Industry Association President and CEO Michele Siekerka issued the following statement in response to today’s State of the State address by Gov. Phil Murphy. 

Michele Siekerka

NJBIA President & CEO Michele Siekerka, Esq.

“The past year has brought historic challenges to New Jersey and we thank the Governor and his administration for their efforts to best ensure the health and safety of our residents. Theirs has not been an easy road. 

“With 10 months of shutdowns and restrictions, clearly New Jersey is facing an uphill battle. We have one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation. We have 34% fewer small businesses than this time last year. And many of those that have survived are struggling every day, and their spirits are being put to the test. 

“During a ‘State of New Jersey Business’ town hall held this week by the New Jersey Business Coalition, we heard those heartbreaking struggles from business owners and leaders from multiple industries, sensed their grave concerns, and even saw a few tears. They desperately need help in the form of financial assistance in the long and short-term, and they need hope that this administration will do more than wait for a vaccine to take hold for New Jersey’s greater population. 

“We continue to encourage outside-the-box thinking to help small businesses, the lifeblood of our state’s economy. And we also plead for an end to costly mandates and higher taxes, which amazingly continued to confront our businesses this year, even in these historically bad times. 

“Looking past the pandemic and its impacts, New Jersey still faces great economic challenges. We are certainly excited about a new and balanced economic incentive program, signed by Governor Murphy last week, which will be a strong tool to both create and retain jobs in our great state. However, more must be done to reverse our untenable increases in spending and borrowing and deepening fiscal deficits. 

As New Jersey continues to consistently rank as one of the top outmigration states in the nation, our structural challenges urgently need to be addressed. For the sake of our affordability and fiscal survival, impactful fiscal reforms must now supplant the excessive taxation on our overburdened residents and businesses. Without that commitment, New Jersey’s considerable challenges will only grow greater.”