NJBIA President Discusses Ways to Make NJ More Competitive
Steve Adubato and Michele Siekerka, President and CEO of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association, discuss a recent study comparing NJ businesses to six other states in terms of competitiveness. Siekerka shares her thoughts on what the Murphy Administration should focus on in order to make New Jersey a more affordable and competitive state for business.
"We are pleased to welcome Michele Siekerka, President and CEO, New Jersey Business and Industry Association. Good to see you Michele. Great to be here. As usual, BIA has done an important study. In this case, looking at the current regional business climate in New Jersey, and how we rank, what? In the region? In the country? What? Well unfortunately, when it comes to regional competitiveness, we are dead last. Dead last, meaning when we track trends on spending, on taxes, on cost of living, we rank last in the region. We did a study where we took six factors, and we compared ourselves to seven states in the region - Northeast - and we came in dead last. Based on... is it taxes primarily? Yes. Which ones? Well, if you think about corporate business tax, if you think about individual tax, if you think about property... "Individual" meaning income tax? Yeah. If you think about... And then property? Oh, property tax, number one.Absolutely number one. So some of these taxes, we're not dead last. But when you rank the six factors all together, and you add them up and score them, we are last. And we're not just last. We come in 33. And the next one behind us is at, like, 26, when you add up the factors. Add in another piece of this. There are lots of folks across this country who believe, fervently, Michele Siekerka, that we need to increase... you know where I'm going, the minimum wage. 15 bucks an hour. I see campaigns everywhere. People saying... Mm hmm. ...it's not a livable wage. I think that you are saying that the survey found that that 15 dollar minimum wage in New Jersey would make us more, less, competitive, what? Oh no, less competitive. So our number one outmigration state is Pennsylvania. They're not even having a discussion around raising the minimum wage right now. In New York, you know, it's... the discussion is different. Yes. Andrew Cuomo is on behalf of it? Yes. We also know what the challenge in New York is right now. It's very early on, and we already hear from our industry members, our business members who have companies in New York as well, where the challenges are retail, supermarkets, they're very challenged over there. You know, people think that... everybody always talks about corporate greed and corporate welfare, and thinks there's all this money flowing back to companies. Let's talk about Main Street companies. Their profit margin is about yo big. Alright. Think about the pizzeria. Think about the bakery. Think about the laundromat. Right?..."