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Opportunity New Jersey 2017: Many Businesses, One Voice

CIANJ MEMBER firm Deloitte predicts that “cost pressures and the drive toward simplification will create a new organizational paradigm,” which emphasizes reliance on third parties for non-core infrastructure and talent. In a state such as New Jersey, where a talented labor pool is a competitive advantage, we are uniquely positioned to capitalize on this opportunity.

According to McKinsey & Company’s recent report, Reseeding the Garden State’s Economic Growth: A Vision for New Jersey, “New Jersey has significant economic strengths, including strong positions in knowledge-intensive industries such as pharmaceuticals, finance, and technology. It has a highly educated labor force and a uniquely advantageous location for participating in international trade and providing logistics services on the Northeast Corridor.”

From accounting firms to banks to law firms to environmental consulting firms to engineering firms, we have the brain power to take existing businesses to new heights, to create new enterprises with growth potential and to assist in mergers that give birth to new, more empowered firms that employ thousands and create openings for hundreds of small business vendors.

This economic eco-system does not prosper independent of market conditions and requires a pro-business approach to policy in Trenton and Washington, D.C., where elected leaders help set the tone for the business environment—a key to job creation and a healthy economy. New Jersey is a particularly expensive place to do business, so astute policy-making is essential to create a market where business success is supported, nurtured and pursued by elected leaders—backed by the levers of government power. McKinsey & Company identified four major factors that “reduce dynamism” in the New Jersey economy and depress growth:

● New Jersey has relatively few young companies that have grown into major employers.
● Aging transportation infrastructure exacts a toll on productivity and high maintenance costs divert public funds from other uses.
● There is a growing mismatch between the type of middle-skill workers New Jersey has and middle-skill jobs that employers need to fill.
● New Jersey has focused business incentives on retaining major employers and therefore has created fewer new jobs than states that aim more incentives at new businesses.

Two years ago—to create a more pro-business environment in the Garden State—more than 500 business and political leaders gathered for a Business Summit at the Borgata Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Inspired by the kindred spirits that gathered and called for economic growth and which offered the expertise that could deliver these ideas as policies, many of these thought leaders joined forces to create Opportunity New Jersey, “a coalition dedicated to promoting action to make New Jersey more competitive and more affordable for everyone.” The culmination of this herculean push to create a better business climate in the Garden State is the “2017 New Jersey Affordability Summit: A Call for Action,” which will take place on Sept. 18, 2017, at the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, New Jersey. Registration starts at 8:00 a.m. and the summit begins at 9:00 a.m.—for more information, call (609) 393-6998 or visit www.opportunityNJ.org.

These efforts and this summit are particularly relevant in 2017, as the coming November elections will choose a new governor, and all the seats in the New Jersey Senate and Assembly are up for election. This is the time to speak with one voice and advocate for the business community in Trenton, where competing priorities can often block some of the best ideas. The business community is too important to our state to allow that to happen.

Opportunity New Jersey wants to make sure these candidates support pro-business and pro-growth policies that will have a positive impact on New Jersey’s economy.

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