Putting NJ on the Path to Competitiveness and Affordability
Steve Adubato is joined by Michele Siekerka, Esq., President & CEO, New Jersey Business and Industry Association, and Co-Chair, Opportunity New Jersey, and Ralph Albert Thomas, CPA (DC), CGMA, CEO & Executive Director, New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants and Treasurer, Opportunity New Jersey, to discuss how Opportunity New Jersey is working to put New Jersey on the path toward regional competitiveness and affordability.
"Welcome to State of Affairs. I'm Steve Adubato. It is my pleasure to introduce two very distinguished business leaders in the state. Michele Siekerka, President and CEO, New Jersey Business and Industry Association, and also co-chair of an organization called Opportunity New Jersey. And also Ralph Albert Thomas, CEO and Executive Director, New Jersey Society of CPAs, and the treasurer of Opportunity New Jersey. Good to see both of you. Thank you. Thank you. We've had discussions before about the business community in the state, but let me ask you. Ralph, this organization, Opportunity New Jersey, is what and why? Well Steve, it's a nonpartisan group, and really the intent of it is for the group to bring to the attention... be the voice, if you will, of the business community and individuals here in New Jersey, you know. And in terms of, you know, the public policy that's being vetted and other things that are going on, you know, down in Trenton with the administration and the legislature. But Michele, respectfully, we've... you've been with us many times. We also have had the State Chamber of Commerce on with us. Others. How is this organization different than the Business and Industry Association? Or the Chamber? Or any other business group? So this is a larger coalition of like-minded associations coming together. So we have 16 business associations working together to establish that one voice. So it's all about leveraging. For example, the research we talk about all the time at BIA. Sure. Now we can leverage it through Opportunity New Jersey with these 16 partners. So coalition building in the business community is what this is all about. What's the main message? See, we actually... after this segment... Sure. ...we're going to have a conversation with the head of the EDA, Economic Development Authority, and also the head of Choose New Jersey as well. I'm sure they're gonna have a certain perspective on Governor Murphy's economic agenda. Is there a perspective on the part of Opportunity NJ? Or is it too soon? Well no. Well the message for Opportunity New Jersey is make New Jersey affordable. And do it now. What we... It's not? You say? So everything in our plan, our agenda, for Opportunity New Jersey is all about driving affordability and regional competitiveness, business competitiveness, within the Northeast. Which we are not. We are dead last. Dead last in the Northeast. In what? In everything. In taxes. Cost of doing business. I mean, you think about what business owners have... everyday, have to deal with, right? And the costs that we have.."