Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey

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CIANJ President's Message

"Painting a New Picture of New Jersey"



by John Galandak, April 2015 COMMERCE Magazine Column

ACTOR/COMEDIAN STEVE MARTIN ONCE said that “a painting is a permanent conversation that speaks to us each time we look at it.” Unfortunately, on the canvas that shows the Garden State, there are images that for years have sent the wrong signals to CEOs, as too many companies have chosen to leave New Jersey or expand elsewhere. Recognizing the need for change, New Jersey elected Governor Chris Christie in 2009 with his clear vision for bi-partisan, pro-business initiatives and policies. His new portrait of New Jersey has both attracted and retained many companies, but these efforts remain a work in progress. Businesses need to be actively engaged, through CIANJ and on their own, in advocating the following:

Reduce the Regulatory Burden on Businesses. Too often, regulations unnecessarily siphon away resources and hinder economic growth and opportunities. We must embrace the work of the Red Tape Review Commission—chaired by Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, and on which I am proud to serve as a representative of the business community—as one of the most effective tools we have for reducing the regulatory burden on businesses.

Eliminate New Jersey’s Estate and Inheritance Taxes. New Jersey and Maryland are the only two states to impose both an estate and inheritance tax, and New Jersey’s taxes are triggered at a threshold of estates of $675,000 in value. The federal threshold is $5 million and, in some circumstances, $10 million. Because of this tax, many New Jersey residents—including CEOs who take their companies, jobs and philanthropy with them when they leave—have moved out of state to locations such as Florida, which does not impose this tax burden. New Jersey should eliminate these taxes outright since they only generate 2 percent of state revenues.

Reform the State’s Pension and Benefits System. Governor Christie and the New Jersey State Legislature set a national example when they worked collaboratively on public employee pension and health reforms in 2011, but more needs to be done. CIANJ hopes New Jersey can build on the success of this legislation, and work to make the recommendations that Governor Christie referenced in his 2015 budget address a reality. The status quo cannot be maintained. Re-engineering the pension system to be more in line with private sector 401(k) plans and amending the benefits plan to adopt medical coverage that is comparable to what businesses are offering their employees are going to be necessary compromises to save the system from its inevitable self-destruction.

Adopt Meaningful Property Tax Reforms. New Jersey’s reputation as a state with high property taxes negatively impacts its attractiveness to new investments. When choosing where to locate a new business, cost of living for employees is often a factor because it affects the wages that must be offered. CIANJ supports the consolidation of services and the elimination of exemptions which allow municipalities to exceed the 2 percent cap on annual property tax increases that was instituted by the legislature at the urging of Governor Christie.

Fix the State’s Transportation Trust Fund. New Jersey’s transportation network is one of our greatest strengths, as it attracts businesses to New Jersey. Our citizens should constitutionally dedicate the monies earmarked for the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) for road improvements and maintenance projects to prevent the past practice of raiding the fund to fill budget gaps. The TTF must be maintained, but while increasing New Jersey’s gas tax may seem like the simple answer, it will add to the cost of doing business here, which is counterproductive to the goal of attracting and keeping businesses.

As members of the New Jersey business community, we must keep these issues top-of-mind for our elected officials. Let’s work together by taking an active role in shaping a brighter, more business-friendly future for the Garden State.

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

4/8 Healthcare Roundtable

Updates on Affordable Care Act with Special Presentation by Rep. Frank Pallone


Rep. Frank Pallone led off a panel discussion of the Affordable Care Act. As one of the authors of this national healthcare reform, Rep. Pallone provides a unique perspective on the evolution of the law and its implementation moving forward. Our panel of legal and industry experts will examine how the law affects health plans and coverage, while also giving insights on court decisions and possible legislative actions that could reshape the law and its scope.

Staff Recognition Luncheon

A great way to thank your staff on Administrative Professionals Day! Join us for a delicious lunch, fabulous door prizes and great entertainment!

April 22nd, 201511:30 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.

Business Impact Group (BIG)

BIG has joined CIANJ and will be working with the Small Business Council to bring value to the small business sector within CIANJ and the New Jersey Small business community. BIG operates as a closed group within CIANJ similar to the CEO Roundtable providing an opportunity for its members to gain insights in a peer-to-peer atmosphere.

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

Marketing Roundtable

Without a savvy marketing strategy, any product or service is doomed to failure. Industry leaders guide this roundtable as it helps businesses promote their brand, harness social media, and determine the best ways to identify new customers and clients

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 For Business Roundtable

The Technology For Business 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

  • Member News - Berkeley College

    The Berkeley College chapter of Future Business Leaders of America – Phi Beta Lambda (FBLA-PBL) competed in the State Leadership Conference at Rutgers Business School on March 28, 2015. The Berkeley team won the Business Ethics – Performance Event competition and came in third in the Business Presentation – Performance Event. The teams researched and presented on topics including global business and identity theft. The Business Ethics team will go on to compete at the FBLA-PBL National Leadership Conference in Chicago, IL, in June. Congratulations to FBLA-PBL members (L to R) Kristen Young of Montclair, Vedika Rupee of Clifton, William Jimenez of Paterson, Jazzlyn Feliciano of Nutley, and Moann Arlette of Bloomfield.

  • Member News - LeClairRyan

    Dean Colucci has joined LeClairRyan as a shareholder on the firm’s Capital Markets team.  He will be resident in the national law firm’s Newark, N.J. and New York, N.Y. offices.  Mr. Colucci has a broad based corporate finance practice that extends across capital markets, M&A, structured and asset-based finance, and global infrastructure development and finance.  Prior to joining LeClairRyan, he was most recently President and Head of Investment Banking at the boutique investment bank, MLV & Co.

  • Member News - Hackensack University Health Network

    Hackensack University Health Network is pleased to announce it has signed a definitive agreement with Palisades Medical Center (North Bergen, NJ) to become a full member of its expanding network. The definitive agreement was signed on April 2, and moves both organizations into the next steps for regulatory approval. We are proud to sign this definitive agreement with Palisades Medical Center,” said Robert C. Garrett, president and chief executive officer of Hackensack University Health Network. “We have been fortunate to partner with Palisades since 2012 through a successful clinical affiliation. Working together, we have enhanced and expanded the award-winning programs provided at Palisades, and will continue to do so. I am grateful for the leadership of Palisades’ CEO, Bruce Markowitz, and Theresa De Leon, chairwoman of the board, for their partnership and shared vision.”

  • Member News - Valley National Bank

    Valley National Bank, the wholly-owned subsidiary of Valley National Bancorp, hosted 18 Sophomores from Alexander Hamilton Preparatory Academy, Elizabeth High School, William F. Halsey Academy of Finance, and Thomas Jefferson Arts Academy on March 26th as part of the Rutgers University Business for Youth (RUBY) program.  RUBY provides high school students with the fundamental knowledge of what it means to attend business school. With the assistance of student and staff volunteers, RUBY utilizes its resources to make local high school students eager and open to the idea of attending business school, and/ or college in general.

  • New Jersey's Economic Profile

    So how well is New Jersey doing in terms of our economic recovery and private sector jobs?  In a word – improving.  On Thursday, Commissioner Hal Wirths of the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development testified before the Senate Budget Committee.  In his testimony, the Commissioner highlighted that New Jersey added 74,000 private sector jobs in the last two years.  The Unemployment Trust Fund or UTF is at it’s highest level in seven years with $1 billion in the fund.  Remarkably, New Jersey continues to catch fraudulent claims made against the UTF at a rate of 1,600 a week.  More than $800 million has been saved by eliminating fraud.  To view the Commissioner’s testimony see here.