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>Let’s see. New Jersey lost 9,500 jobs in January.


Daily Muse: Feb. 28, 2008

Let’s see. New Jersey lost 9,500 jobs in January.

We only gained 4,700 jobs in all of 2007 – well below the 29,400 jobs that were originally estimated.

Anybody want to do some quick math on what those numbers will look like if you throw an 800 percent toll hike in 14 years into the mix?

Right. But never fear, New Jersey. The state’s Chamber of Commerce is still foursquare behind the governor’s toll hike plan.

“The New Jersey Chamber of Commerce applauds the Corzine administration for putting forth a bold and aggressive plan designed to reduce out-of-control state debt and create stable long-term funding for much needed transportation projects,” the chamber said today, according to the Ledger.

Has it occurred to the Chamber that at the rate New Jersey is losing jobs – and residents – that if this toll hike goes through, that those much needed transportation projects will be much less needed, unless they apply to roads leading out of here?

“What the job data show is that corporate America is not doing its expansion in New Jersey,” said James W. Hughes, an economist and dean of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. “The disparity between the nation’s job growth and New Jersey is so high.”

Question to the Chamber: Why exactly is corporate America going to choose New Jersey to relocate to when they are facing an 800 percent hike on the toll roads?

Here’s an even scarier statistic: New Jersey’s January job loss of 9,500 was 56 percent of the nation’s 17,000 job loss — even though New Jersey accounts for only 3 percent of the nation’s population, according to the Ledger.

And the toll hike plan is going to turn that around how?

“The job numbers are just awful, and they reflect New Jersey’s standing in the economic world, which is not very high,” said Philip Kirschner, president of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association, a statewide business advocacy group. “Jobs are not being created here, and I think part of it is the perception that this is a state that has not adopted business-friendly policies, and can’t get its own fiscal house in order.”

Question for Gov. Corzine: Before you ax the Commerce Commission, can you get someone to explain how an 800 percent toll hike is a business-friendly policy?

Corzine’s point man on the toll hike plan, Bob Franks, was out at Eagleton last night, urging critics to “lower the rhetoric.”

“For the first time in my adult life, I truly fear for the state of New Jersey,” Franks said. “If we don’t make some serious changes in the way we govern ourselves, we run the risk of passing on fewer opportunities.”

Question for Bob Franks: How is an 800 percent toll hike going to create more opportunities for New Jersey’s middle class?

Meanwhile, before he jetted off to campaign for Hillary Clinton in Ohio, Corzine was still touting his toll-hike plan at the Tick-Tock Diner yesterday. He said that he plans to continue his Town Hall meetings, but he expects a “broader discussion” now that he has unveiled his budget cuts. But he bristled at questions at whether the cuts were a way to get people to support his toll hike plan.

“It is a false and cynical assertion that we’re trying to use this to somehow back-door people into” supporting his toll plan, Corzine said, according to Gannett.

By the way, New Jersey was the third highest-ranking “outbound state” last year, with 61 percent of all moves originating in New Jersey leaving for other states, according to a recent migration study. Sixty thousand people left the state.

Question for the governor: And that 800 percent toll hike is going to reverse that trend how?

Just asking.

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