NJBIA CEO Proposes Ways to Keep People in New Jersey
Michele Siekerka, President and CEO of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association explains the need to change taxes, among other things, to keep individuals in the garden state, including seniors and millennials.
"This is Steve Adubato. We welcome, once again... we've had a series of discussions, but the business environment continues to change in the state of New Jersey. We welcome, once again, Michele Siekerka, President and CEO of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association. Michele, good to see you again. A pleasure. Let's talk about a range of things. By the way, why is it so expensive to live in and do business in New Jersey? In 2017? Why? There are many things that drive the cost of living and affordability in the state of New Jersey. So for New Jersey business, in general there are a lot of regulations that drive your bottom line. That cause you, maybe, to have to push a lot of paper in the back office. And all those regulations and all that paper you're pushing, everything has a dollar attached to it. And I hear from my businesses everyday, I just came from speaking at an event this morning. And the number one issue around the table - the cost of doing business. And I said, "Give me examples." Sure. And a lot of it is, you know, regulations that drive for New Jersey residents, property taxes. Property taxes. And candidly, for business, property taxes. New Jersey millennials, property taxes, drives the rent. Millennials can't afford to live here. Let's talk about the millennials. You've really pushed this issue? Yes. Because you're worried about us losing these millennials. Why? I mean what's the difference between a millennial and someone who's 40 or 50 or beyond? Like, what's the difference? Well they're our future workforce. NJBIA, we represent 20,000 businesses across the state of New Jersey. That's over 1.1 million jobs. We have to grow jobs in the state of New Jersey. If we don't have a workforce to draw from, how do we create new jobs? What are they into? What are... what do you believe most...? Because I don't want to generalize here. What do you think most millennials are interested in, in terms of quality of life, and business opportunities, employment opportunities, that may be different than say 15-20 years ago? Hmm. So the types of communities that they're looking to live, work, and play, really they want to find that all in one place. So the whole idea of more urbanism, they want to be able to take mass transit. So look, they can't afford to buy cars, and they don't want to own cars, you know... What do you mean they don't want to own cars? They don't. Doesn't everybody want... No. ...a car? And an expensive monthly payment? [laughter] No. No. And in New Jersey, then you add the car insurance on top of it, and you're... Oh yeah that..."