CIANJ President Talks Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave
Anthony Russo, President of the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey, talks about the biggest issues facing New Jersey businesses including minimum wage and paid sick leave.
"We are pleased to welcome Anthony "Tony" Russo, who is the President of the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey. Good to see you buddy. Thank you for having me Steve. Anything going on in the State House in New Jersey? In the state capital in the Summer of 2017? We're taping this Midsummer of 2017. Biggest issues? Yeah, for us, I mean the whole budget scenario played out unexpectedly, with the Horizon Blue Cross legislation, and we were opposed to what the Governor was trying to do. We considered that overreach. So it was unfortunate that the Government had to close a couple of days, but we're happy that that was all resolved. I understand that the Senate's actually gonna be in tomorrow to work on a couple of bills. But we're just in a monitor mode at this point. By the way, let's let folks know what the Commerce and Industry Association is. An organization that we actually have a cross promotional relationship with. Right. And some of our video also runs on your site. And by the way, check out the site. Some great important stuff for the business community and others there. Describe the organization. Yeah. I'm happy to report that we're celebrating our 90th anniversary this year. Well done. And I've been there four years. But we have a longstanding history in Bergen County. We actually started out as the Bergen County Chamber of Commerce. And kind of morphed into the statewide association that we are now, with offices in Paramus and Trenton. We represent about 900 employers, and I'm specific when I say "employers" because those employers, whether it's a bank, a lawyer, law firm, I should say a hospital, they provide those jobs that provide that quality of life for people. So some of the issues, Tony, that really matter to the business community that impact others. Let's go through some of them. There are many in the state who argue that a 15 dollar an hour minimum wage... right now, folks, help me on this, get the number, is it 8...? It's 8.38. 8.38. Yeah. Moving the minimum wage to 15 dollars an hour makes a lot of sense. The Governor of New York advocates it. There are some who are running for Governor of New Jersey... advocate it. Some who don't. What do you think of the 15 dollar an hour minimum wage? We're opposed. Because? And the reason why we're opposed... it's more fundamental. It's... we don't think government should mandate benefits and pay. In the sense that if you think about that businessman, businesswoman, that's taking that risk to start a business, sleeping, or not sleeping, trying to make payroll, you know, it's incredible that government's trying to dictate to those folks "this..."