Tom Bracken

"I ain’t settling for just getting by/I’ve had enough so-so for the rest of my life.”

The words from Sugarland’s song “Settlin’” popped into my head as I listened to Gov. Phil Murphy’s inaugural address Tuesday.

No one should settle for where New Jersey is today. With the advantages and assets our state enjoys, New Jersey’s economy should be one of the strongest and most robust in the nation, offering opportunities to all of our citizens that are second to none.

While we have made progress toward this goal in the past few years, we still have a long way to go. I believe Gov. Murphy recognizes this, and that is why I felt optimistic following his inaugural address.

He struck all of the right notes in laying out his vision for the next four years.

He clearly demonstrated enthusiasm for the New Jersey he envisions.

He correctly called for leaders of both parties to work together.

He called for a New Jersey that creates places where industries can grow and where innovative companies are born.

He made it abundantly clear that he has a refreshing “fight-for-Jersey” attitude.

We will need the enthusiasm and the inclusive vision our new governor described and demonstrated Tuesday.

We also need him to take decisive action in the short term to kick-start our economy and show he is serious about building on our economic momentum.  He can:

  • Expedite road, bridges and mass transportation projects.
  • Attack property taxes and many of the unnecessary and burdensome regulations that continue to impede economic growth.
  • Make tax-incentive programs available to all businesses — not just to those considering a move to New Jersey or threatening to leave it.

These actions would send a clear message around which people from all over the state would rally.

Last Tuesday, Gov. Murphy spoke eloquently about a stronger, fairer New Jersey, which includes better jobs at higher wages, protecting the environment, supporting a $15 minimum wage, sick leave and equal pay. As these issues are discussed, we are asking for a seat at the table.

The best way to achieve his economic and his social vision is to create a robust state economy. The stronger the economy, the more that can be done.

That is why the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce consistently advocated for the fiscally sound actions that bipartisan leadership in Trenton recently made a reality — tax cuts, debt reduction, renewal of the Transportation Trust Fund, the Economic Opportunity Act and a substantial reduction in job-killing regulations.

The 1,000 member companies of the New Jersey chamber and the business community across the state stand ready to partner with the new administration to help again make our state a national economic leader, and provide opportunities for everyone.

No one in New Jersey should have to settle for just getting by.


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New Jersey Chamber of Commerce members exchanged business cards and discussed the latest Chamber programs, events and ways to grow

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Richard S. Mroz, president of the state Board of Public Utilities since 2014, discussed New Jersey's Energy Master Plan and

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