Economy

The New Jersey Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday in a case about whether Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration should be allowed to borrow as much as $9.9 billion in response to revenue shortfalls caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The lawsuit pits the Democratic governor and top Democratic state lawmakers against the state’s Republican party and several Republican legislators, who sued to block a plan they say would permit the administration to borrow for expenses unrelated to the pandemic and saddle future generations with a mountain of debt.

New Jersey reported another 699 cases of coronavirus Friday, adding up to a total of 181,660 cumulative cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

Officials also announced another 10 deaths related to coronavirus. The outbreak has caused 13,944 lab-confirmed fatalities and another 1,875 probable deaths.

Jump in positive cases sets off ‘alarms’

The New Jersey task force formed by Gov. Phil Murphy to look into the state’s generous tax break programs released its final report Thursday, which contains new allegations of lax oversight among regulators and impropriety on the part of hired consultants.

“The [Economic Development Authority] has fostered a permissive culture of ‘getting to yes’ with applicant companies,” said Ron Chen, a Rutgers Law professor and chair of the task force, “which resulted in a predisposition of EDA personnel to approve awards for tax incentives and at higher amounts when possible.”

New Jersey officials on Monday reported 216 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the statewide total to 173,611.

The toll of confirmed deaths increased by 20 to 13,773, with 1,856 probable deaths.

Uptick in infection rate concerns officials

Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday that New Jersey’s rate of infection has gone above 1.0 for the first time in ten weeks.

As of July 4, the rate was at 1.03; meaning for every one person infected, it leads to at least one person getting infected.

N.J. Coronavirus Recovery: Casinos, Amusement Parks Reopen For Business

Jul 2, 2020

New Jersey reported another 539 cases of coronavirus Thursday, bringing the cumulative total over the course of the pandemic to 172,356.

The state also announced another 27 deaths. All told there have been 13,251 confirmed fatalities and 1,854 probable deaths due to COVID-19.

Open for business

Casinos are among several businesses reopening across New Jersey Thursday amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Though casinos can welcome gamblers, they won’t be able to serve alcohol or let patrons smoke. They must also cap admittance at 25% of capacity.

On Wednesday, New Jersey reported an additional 423 positive tests for COVID-19. The total number of positive cases now stands at 171,928.

An additional 45 deaths were reported, raising the toll to 13,224 confirmed deaths. There are also 1,854 probable deaths.

Despite language, Murphy says no private development at Liberty State Park

N.J. coronavirus recovery: Indoor dining is on pause

Jun 30, 2020

New Jersey reported 156 new COVID-19 cases and an additional 18 confirmed deaths from the coronavirus on Monday.

The state has recorded a total of 171,272 cases and 14,992 deaths.

Currently, there are 978 people in hospitals across the state and 225 in intensive care.

Indoor dining on pause until ‘a later date’

New Jersey reported another 406 cases of coronavirus Thursday, bringing the state’s total number of residents who tested positive for COVID-19 to 170,196.

Another 26 people were confirmed to have died from complications of the virus. The state also reported 1,854 probable deaths throughout the course of the pandemic, the first time it has released such a figure. It means New Jersey’s death toll now stands at 14,872.

Deaths spike as state begins counting ‘probable’ fatalities

Should the coronavirus pandemic devastate state revenues across the country, as is widely expected, New Jersey will be among the states most dependent on federal aid to keep itself running.

That precarious position — relying on a president and Congress who have been willing to let New Jersey bleed money in the past — is the product of decades of poor financial planning and spending instead of saving.

People wanting to be anything from an accountant to an acupuncturist in New Jersey need to obtain professional licenses before they can ply their trade.

A proposal in the state Legislature would make certain immigrants living in the state eligible to apply for and obtain those licenses, which supporters said would invigorate the economy and bring some immigrants out of the shadows.

Democratic lawmakers in New Jersey are proposing a law to make work schedules more predictable for low-wage employees and give them a guaranteed 12-hour break between shifts.

It comes as cities and states across the country consider similar “fair work week” legislation to help workers in the retail and hospitality industries better plan their work schedules while leaving enough time in the day for their personal lives.

Bernice McClain, of Lindenwold, is enjoying retirement.

“I don’t watch the clock,” she said. “The clock watches me.”

But now the former caseworker is applying for a job with the U.S. Census.

“I still enjoy talking to people and working with people. And like I said, I’m retired. Extra money,” she added.

McClain was one of many people who took part in census job fairs in Camden County on Thursday, where residents could apply to be census takers.

It’s not all about the trains.

A survey of people who regularly take New Jersey Transit buses found they often show up late because of heavy traffic, and that bus stops frequently lack amenities that protect riders from the elements.

The survey of 250 bus riders was released Tuesday by the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, a transit-advocacy nonprofit focused on New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut.

“In 20 years of being in the legislature, I find this bill the most confusing,” said state Sen. Linda Greenstein, D-Middlesex, during a Trenton hearing Thursday.

Yet just a few hours later, she and other lawmakers on the Senate Labor Committee voted 3-1 in favor of legislation that critics say would take money out of the pockets of some freelance workers and put others out of business altogether. Greenstein said she hoped additional amendments would address their concerns.

Greeted by throngs of vocal protesters, South Jersey Democratic power broker George Norcross told legislators at the Statehouse in Trenton on Monday that the state’s generous tax incentive program has succeeded in revitalizing distressed areas, particularly Camden.

The controversial insurance executive testified that, despite what critics say, Camden has turned a corner, in large part due to investment spurred by state tax breaks.

An association representing consumer reporting agencies filed a lawsuit in federal court Thursday seeking to block a New Jersey state law that requires credit reports be made available in Spanish and 10 other languages.

The Washington, D.C.-based Consumer Data Industry Association claims the new state law is preempted by the federal credit reporting statute, and that it violates the First Amendment by “compelling speech” in other languages.

Companies that had been sued for workplace issues or were facing regulatory penalties still routinely received tax incentive awards from New Jersey, according to one of the top legal officials at the state’s Economic Development Authority.

Marcus Saldutti, senior legislative officer at the regulatory body, made the comments Thursday during the fourth public meeting of a task force set up to look into the state’s $11 billion tax break system.

State officials say New Jersey Transit will restore continuous service to midtown Manhattan on a popular rail line, thanks to an increased number of qualified engineers and strides in installing positive train control, a federally-mandated automatic braking system.

At a Monday press conference, Gov. Phil Murphy said the so-called one-seat rides would resume during off-peak hours on the Raritan Valley Line on November 4.

Look out, Hollywood. Here comes … New Jersey?

Gov. Phil Murphy wants to attract more big-name directors and production companies to shoot films and TV shows in the Garden State.

To do it, Murphy has called on the legislature to expand the state’s film and TV tax credit, which he said is already paying dividends for residents.

New Jersey’s unemployment rate fell to 3.3% in July, the lowest its been since the state began keeping records in 1976.

Public policy experts said it was part of a positive economic trend for the Garden State. “Basically this is a continuation of good economic news for the state,” said James Hughes, a professor at Rutgers-New Brunswick. “There have been some economic headwinds the past several months, but the economy is still moving forward.”

New Jersey lawmakers voted Thursday to extend the lives of two controversial tax credit programs that have roiled Trenton in recent months.

The programs, started under former Gov. Chris Christie, have awarded billions of dollars in incentives to companies that agreed to move to or expand in New Jersey, and business insiders testified that allowing the programs to expire on July 1 would risk missing out on future opportunities.

New Jersey has become the second state to ban “cashless” businesses. Proponents characterize it as an attempt to ensure that consumers without credit cards can participate in the economy.

It comes at a time when retailers such as Amazon are rolling out cashless stores that only accept credit cards in the name of efficiency.

New Jersey is on its way to having a $15 minimum wage.

Both the state Senate and Assembly passed legislation Thursday to gradually hike the state’s base wage to $15 an hour for most workers by 2024.

Gov. Phil Murphy quickly tweeted his intention to sign the bill within days.

“On Monday, I’ll sign this bill into law,” Murphy said. “Working families can’t wait.”

A few weeks earlier Murphy had come to an agreement with state Senate President Steve Sweeney, D-Gloucester, and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, D-Middlesex, on the details of the plan.

Murphy Announces Plan For NJ Economy

Oct 1, 2018
Ang Santos / WBGO

Governor Murphy says New Jersey should consider high wage innovation sectors that will bring the most jobs and investment into the state.  

“Clean energy, life sciences, advanced manufacturing, food and beverage, advanced transportation and logistics, information and high tech, film and digital media, and finance and insurance.”

Murphy hopes to create 300,000 new jobs by the year 2025.

A national survey by the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers finds that a majority of Americans believe the economy is improving, but they’re worried about future job prospects.

Carl Van Horn is the Center’s director. He says even though unemployment is low, 57 percent of those surveyed consider the federal government’s handling of the job situation as only fair or poor.

7 in 10 Americans are worried that the country is being run for the benefit of the rich rather than for workers.

Consulting Group Suggests Ways To Improve NJ Economy

Jul 18, 2017

Drawing on economic data and insights from business leaders, a consulting firm is suggesting ways New Jersey can improve its economy.

Steve van Kuiken is a senior partner at McKinsey and Company. He says helping high-growth biotech, cybersecurity, and warehousing and distribution businesses navigate regulations and increase their access to capital will help turbo-charge the state's economic growth.