Business costs in NJ are too high, according to new survey

Employers and executives in New Jersey say they are pessimistic about the outlook for the coming year, with the state still not doing enough to address affordability and the cost of doing business.

The New Jersey Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s 64th annual outlook report released Monday said 75 percent of employers believe the Democrats in power have done nothing to make the Garden State more affordable, even with its high tax revenues.

Just 5 percent of the 468 respondents said New Jersey leaders, including the governor, are doing enough. Phil Murphy and the legislative leader, both Democrats.

Some 46 percent of businesses said the state could not afford it somewhat, and 36 percent said it couldn’t afford it at all, according to the survey.

Most said they were concerned about inflation, rising costs and external economic pressures, and planned only modest growth in the year ahead. Many worry about the regulatory burden next year and difficulties finding staff.

“It was a year of historic spending and a budget surplus without comprehensive business relief – and our businesses have taken note,” the association’s president, Michele Siekerka, said in a statement accompanying the study.

New Jersey Chamber of Commerce and Industry President and CEO Michele Siekerka revealed her team's vision for 2019.

Murphy has been touting his administration’s progress on affordability for months, since he narrowly missed his re-election bid last fall.

The recent credit upgrade is seen as evidence that his policy of overhauling the country’s fiscal institutions has paid dividends. Murphy spokeswoman Christy Pease said the state has provided $850 million in loans, grants and other emergency support to more than 80,000 employers during the pandemic.

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