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It’s an open-ended and optional request that makes its way to business owners and executives in NJBIA’s annual Business Outlook Survey: 

Please share your thoughts on New Jersey’s business climate. 

In the 2024 BOS, as in years past, most of the responses were quite negative. There were, however, constructive criticisms, unique situations and some positive comments that were also worth noting. 

Here’s a look at some. 


Out of the 503 survey respondents, 176 volunteered their thoughts on New Jersey’s business climate. 

Well more than half of those responses we would describe as overtly negative, ranging from one-word answers like “poor,” “terrible,” or “abysmal,” to longer descriptions such as: 

  • “NJ is not business friendly at all with too much regulation and too high taxes.  The minimum wage is way too high for a small business like mine.  I am not hiring additional employees because of it.” 
  • “New Jersey is a very anti-business state which needs to take the needs of employers into account just as much as it does the employees in order to attract and retain business. 
  • “New Jersey has a non-accommodating position towards business, bordering on punitive. If I could afford to move our business to another state, I would take that action. Between costs at all levels, regulations, wages, cost of housing and taxes at all levels it is impossible to do business in this state. The politicians need to wake up and understand the reasons people and businesses are leaving the State.” 
  • “Since everything in NJ is expensive, employees need to be paid more. Therefore, we need to increase our margin on goods. NJ makes it tough to keep retail prices low unless you’re some massive corporation with massive purchasing power. 
  • “I have been approached to move my business to South Carolina and I am seriously considering it. The taxes are so high in this state and the cost of living is just OFF THE CHARTS!!  I do not feel confident in expanding my business here because all I am going to do is get taxed at a higher rate and lose any possibility of a profit!”   
  • “I feel like the NJ government takes business for granted. They do little to improve the business environment. It is an enormously expensive state to operate a business in.” 
  • “NJ gov feels all of society’s costs should be borne by private industry.” 
  • “Non sensical energy policy with no concern for impact to state economy or to residents of the state.” 


A predominant theme among commenters was the need to reduce the cost and burdens of regulations, particularly on small businesses. They also detailed the real-world impacts of excessive rules and mandates. 

Here’s a sampling:

  • “New Jersey has made it very hard for employers to have a business. How many regulations are you going to put on us?  How do you expect us to survive with all the regulations? Very disappointing. I operate an employment agency and you are making it impossible for me to stay in business, and I provide jobs to mostly women who are head of the household.” 
  • “Environmental regulations are inconsistent and stifling without major impact on environmental improvement.” 
  • “The NJDEP has too much power over the business sectors.”   
  • “Compliance (of all kinds) is hard in NJ. For example, the NJ DMV makes life hard for businesses with vehicles with arcane compliance rules and getting things as simple like EZ passes or registrations for vehicles. Taxes and workers comp drive up the cost of doing business. State tries to do everything it can to favor unions that can’t compete without help from the politicians they donate to.” 
  • “NJ Temp Worker Bill of Rights will be very detrimental to businesses and workers.  The slowdown in hiring has started and as more and more companies begin to implement the law, workers will be getting hurt by it because they won’t be able to find temp/temp to hire work as easily.” 


There were also some positives and ideas to improve New Jersey’s business climate standings: 

  • “NJ is a strong state overall for business development.” 
  • “NJ is a great state for business and employment due to its location and transportation.  Reducing tax and other expenses would make it more attractive for businesses.” 
  • “NJ does NOT promote its advantages enough: Skilled workforce in pharma and engineering are at top of the list.” 
  • “Northern NJ seems to be performing well.” 
  • “If you are starting a new business, there are a lot of grants available from the State. If you have been in business for 20 years, like I have, there is nothing. Less than nothing. 
  • “I have never had an employee collect unemployment, yet every quarter I get a bill from NJ to pay more on top of what I pay out of payroll. Health insurance is too expensive, so I have the minimum plan with no dental or vision for my employees. The minimum wage jumping up has greatly affected my business – I have had to raise everybody to compensate.”   
  • “NJ government is not interested in the small business employer.  They continue to make decisions and throw money on tech startups and EV facilities, but not on the businesses that currently pay and employ the majority of people. It would be great if our representatives spent a day with us to see the various struggles of owning a business.” 
  • “There is a lot of scope for growth and innovation. However, the compliance processes are so tight that it is hard for someone to get funding to expand.” 
  • “When the economy is prosperous, it is perhaps understandable that the State of NJ is less engaged/less focused with helping businesses prosper.  However, in this high interest rate and inflationary environment, we need more relief and support.  The state seems to be quite supportive of individuals and labor, but apparently fails to see that the main contributor to our citizens prosperity is a robust healthy business environment & economy.” 
  • “Unemployment is a disaster. I am not notified of claims and claims are awarded against the business without employer input and knowledge. I only realize a claim has been made when I receive the quarterly report showing charges and then I have to appeal.  I only ask for an opportunity to respond to the claims before a decision is reached.”