NJBIA President Discusses New Jersey's Business Landscape
Michele Siekerka, President and CEO of New Jersey Business and Industry Association, discusses the business landscape in New Jersey, including the challenges businesses face in terms of taxes, affordability and outmigration.
"I'm Steve Adubato. You know that because you saw the introduction in the show. But more importantly, I'm pleased to welcome, once again, our good friend, Michele Siekerka, who is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association. Michele, for those who don't know, describe NJBIA. We are the voice for business in the state of New Jersey. Everyday, we're out advocating for a good business climate in the state of New Jersey, making sure that businesses can grow, thrive, survive, create new jobs. And to that end, this publication, New Jersey Business, is your publication? Yes. We happen to cross promote in there as well, but that's not what we're here to talk about. We're here to talk about the fact that there is a report that's out... not really a report, but you had a summit? Yes. On what day? So September 18th, Opportunity New Jersey is an organization that I co-chair with Tom Bracken of the New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce. Right. We've had this organization for almost two years now, and we hosted a summit because we need to set an agenda for affordability in the state of New Jersey. We are in a situation right now in the state of New Jersey where regardless of if I'm talking about a small business, a taxpayer, a parent who has a kid going off to college next year, affordability rings true to you, because New Jersey is no longer affordable. So we're actually taping this program right before the gubernatorial election, either he or she will be the governor of this state. What should he or she be focused on? We need to have an honest discussion of how and why New Jersey became unaffordable. How we lost our competitive edge to our two border states, Pennsylvania and New York, who honestly are our number one and number two out migration states for New Jersey residents. We're losing residents to them? Population and money. To them. Yes, absolutely. Over... absolutely Steve, over the last 13 years, New Jersey has lost a net adjusted gross income, 21 billion dollars out of the state of New Jersey. The number one and number two out migration state, Pennsylvania, New York, our two border states. We are not regionally competitive, and we've gotten to a tipping point where New Jerseyans just feel that New Jersey is no longer affordable. So we, proactively, are saying we need an agenda for affordability in the state of New Jersey. Give me a couple of the solutions or recommendations this summit came up with. Well we focus in four areas. So taxation, we need to look at why are property taxes what they..."