by Steve Adubato
How can New Jersey build a sustainable and effective economic infrastructure that supports jobs and retains valued workers? That’s the primary concern of the Garden State Initiative, an independent research and education organization helmed by its president, Regina Egea, a longtime AT&T executive who, from 2015-2016, served as Governor Chris Christie’s chief of staff.
New Jersey, says Egea, needs a fundamental shift in economic policy. “The tax burden in New Jersey and the cost of doing business in the state need to be addressed,” she says. “Other states are changing their tax policies and modernizing their work force. We are not employing newer policies.”
Egea offers recent data on the financial sector as an indicator of New Jersey’s dilemma. While unemployment in New Jersey dropped to 3.9 percent in April, according to the N.J. Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the state is shedding jobs in the financial sector. In April alone, the state lost 1,800 finance jobs. According to federal data, since March, New Jersey has led the nation in job losses in the financial sector, losing 7,700 jobs.
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