Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey

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CIANJ President's Message

"Balancing the NJ Budget While Paying for Vital Programs"


by John Galandak, April 2014 COMMERCE Magazine Column

It’s budget season again in New Jersey and Spring Training for Major League Baseball, a time of hope and anticipation if you are the Governor of New Jersey or a New York Mets fan—and Governor Chris Christie is both.

“My favorite baseball team is the New York Mets,” said Governor Christie when he talked with children at the Samsel Upper Elementary School in Parlin, New Jersey, last year. Most of the kids were Yankees fans.

Fans of the budget process in Trenton are equally hard to find, as competing state lawmakers have to develop a spending plan for the next fiscal year, which begins on July 1, 2014. This process began when Governor Christie delivered his budget address on Feb. 25, 2014, in which he outlined his fiscal plans for the state.

The budget proposal includes spending of $34.4 billion and the projected revenue to pay for this spending, an increase of 3.5 percent that also allows for a surplus of $313 million. It is, as usual, a blueprint for how to bring the governor’s agenda to life.

The underlying goal of this budget is to restore fiscal responsibility to New Jersey, a theme which brought Governor Christie to office in the first place. Runaway spending and borrowing combined with unfunded health benefits and pension liabilities have overwhelmed any good math that would allow for the required balanced budget. Nevertheless, Governor Christie has moved the state in the right direction with private sector jobs growth and pension and benefits reforms.

Make no mistake, the economy, while on the mend, is not booming by anyone’s estimation and no one is forecasting a dramatic increase in revenue to the state’s treasury. When this is coupled with the intent to follow through on a commitment to make the largest contribution ever by the state to its pension plan, there was little room to propose any additional tax cuts.

So while another round of tax cuts would have been a welcome addition to those enacted over the last four years, it was important to keep the promise made during the first round of reform to New Jersey’s pension system, by making the state’s scheduled contribution part of this year’s spending plan.

The governor made it clear that additional reforms to the pension system will be necessary to restore its health and ensure its long-term stability. There are several reasons that reforms are necessary. Paramount among them is the need to atone for the fiscal sins of past administrations and legislatures, which went hog wild with irresponsible spending and promises made to state workers that were impossible to keep.

Now many state workers feel betrayed. While that’s understandable, that doesn’t make the status quo any more sustainable. While the primary cause of the pension system’s problems are due to politicians from both parties making poor decisions, there is another critical factor that is driving the need for reform: people are expected to enjoy longer lives in retirement than when the pension system was designed, and that must be acknowledged in any realistic, long-term solution.

Without addressing this crisis, New Jersey could become the next Detroit; bankrupted by its unfunded pension and health benefits. It has become a losing situation for all. Further reforms in state health benefits and pensions are necessary to create a system that can keep the promises that are made to workers today, tomorrow and in the future.

If we shy away from doing what is required to bring solvency to the state budget and to the retirement funds that retirees are depending on, we only delay the reckoning that awaits another round of inaction.

A Bruce Springsteen fan, Governor Christie is the “boss” when it comes to presenting a state budget to the legislature. But getting it passed requires sounding the right tone in concert with the rest of the “band”— members of the New Jersey State Legislature—to responsibly balance the budget, while paying for necessary programs.


To view the complete April issue of COMMERCE Magazine, click here.

Environmental Conference

"Using Professional Judgment as a Site Remediation Tool"



May 12 - Annual Golf Outing

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May 12th, 201410:00 am | Register Now

Business 2 Business Council

Through the Business to Business Council, CIANJ is seeking to provide opportunities for small business owners and entrepreneurs to gain the contacts, knowledge, and information necessary to grow their businesses profitably. The B2B Council events will connect them to opportunities across New Jersey’s diverse business landscape.

CEO Roundtable

The CEO Roundtable provides a forum for chief executive officers or business owners to seek advice and share experiences. Participants freely discuss issues they confront daily, such as compensations, financing, dealing with family members, relocations, sale of a business and many of the topics.

Environmental Business Council

Since its inception, the EBC’s mission has been to recognize the important economic role the environmental industry plays within the state, to demonstrate that environmental issues are also business issues, and to teach the business and regulatory communities that environmental responsibility and economic growth are fundamentally related

Financial Decision Makers Roundtable

CIANJ’s Financial Decision Makers Roundtable is intended for senior executives in key financial positions within their firms, as well as CIANJ members and invited guests. The purpose of this roundtable is to share critical information related to financial decision making and to allow attendees to develop professional relationships with each other. CPE credits are offered.

Generation Now: A Young Professionals Or

Generation Now is a group of young professionals in alliance with one another for the purpose of education, networking and peer-to-peer exchange leading to personal and professional growth.

Healthcare Roundtable

CIANJ’s Healthcare Roundtable is a forum for professionals who work within a spectrum of related disciplines to interact with one another by discussing critical issues that affect healthcare, as well as to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and develop relationships that enhance business

Human Resources Council

CIANJ’s Human Resource Roundtable is intended to advocate HR awareness by providing information and resources in various HR disciplines. It educates those responsible for HR in their organizations by sharing knowledge to solve common challenges. As an HRCI Approved Provider, attendees can earn continuing education credits toward PHR, SPHR, and GPHR

Legislative Roundtable

The mission of the Legislative Roundtable is to provide a forum where business executives can meet with state and federal lawmakers to discuss the latest issues affecting commerce.

Manufacturing Roundtable

The Manufacturing Roundtable is intended to be a forum for professionals who work in complimentary disciplines to discuss critical issues that affect manufacturing, facilitate the exchange of knowledge, and to develop relationships that enhance business

Real Property Roundtable

CIANJ’s Real Property Roundtable is intended to be a forum for professionals who work in complementary disciplines to discuss critical issues that affect real property, facilitate the exchange of knowledge, and to develop relationships that enhance business

Technology Roundtable

The Technology Roundtable is intended to be a forum for professionals who work in complementary disciplines to discuss critical issues that affect technology, facilitate the exchange of knowledge, and to develop relationships that enhance business.

Recent News

  • A180 "New Jersey Right to Work Act" - Supported by CIANJ

    A180 prohibits payroll deduction of union dues from wages or salaries of public employees. Click here to view A180. 

  • S929 "Workers Comp Claims Insurance" - Opposed by CIANJ

    S929 provides, from July 1, 2015 forward, an annual cost of living adjustment (COLA) in the weekly workers' compensation benefit rate for any worker who has become totally and permanently disabled from a workplace injury at any time after December 31, 1979 and for the surviving dependents of any worker who died from a workplace injury after December 31, 1979. Click here to view S929.

  • S153 "New Jobs for New Jersey Act" - Supported by CIANJ

    S153 establishes a New Jobs for New Jersey tax credit program to be administered by the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development. The purpose of the program is to provide incentives to small private sector employers who increase their workforce by hiring unemployed workers. Click here to view bill S153.

  • S783 (Unfair Wage Recovery Act" - Opposed by CIANJ

    S783 provides that a discriminatory compensation decision or other employment practice that is unlawful under the “Law Against Discrimination,” occurs each occasion that compensation is paid in furtherance of that discriminatory decision or practice. This provision thus “restarts” the applicable statute of limitations governing discriminatory compensation claims under the “Law Against Discrimination,” effectively making each paycheck another instance of the discriminatory compensation decision or other practice and therefore a new or continuing violation. Click here to view S783.

  • S486 "Ban the Box" - Opposed by CIANJ (Withdrawn)

    S486 would prohibit an employer from conducting a criminal background check on job candidates during the pre-application and application process. Under the bill, the application process begins when a candidate inquires about employment and ends when a employer has extended a conditional offer of employment. The pre-application period precedes the application period and includes recruitment and solicitation of candidates.  This bill has been withdrawn. Click here to view S486.