New Jersey's 24th Legislative District

Senator Steven Oroho

Senator Anthony M. Bucco
Senator Michael Testa
Senator Sam Thompson
Senator Steve Oroho

Lawmakers’ Manufacturing Caucus Hears Top Business Leaders Discuss Impact of Coronavirus on Industry

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Republican Senators Oroho, Bucco, Testa and Thompson vow to support the manufacturing community

The state’s bipartisan legislative manufacturing caucus held a virtual round table discussion today on the impact of the coronavirus on business, and challenges manufacturers face as the economy opens up.

Senators Oroho, Bucco, Testa and Thompson and colleagues on the Legislative Manufacturing Caucus listened to top leaders from the industry discussing the impact of NJ’s response to the coronavirus on business during a virtual round table meeting. (SenateNJ.com)

Republican Senators Steve Oroho, Anthony M. Bucco, Michael Testa and Sam Thompson were among the Legislators hearing almost a dozen top-level manufacturing leaders addressing the status of the vitally important sector and the its fiscal outlook.

“Manufacturing is a critical component of our state’s economic history. While much has transpired since its heyday, the industry has evolved and remains healthy despite considerable challenges,” said Senator Oroho, the Senate Republican Budget Officer. “It’s important to note that every dollar invested in manufacturing delivers over a tenfold return to our economy. Today we specifically heard the ways industry leaders have navigated through the unchartered waters posed by the current crisis yet relayed a hopeful message on how we can use this moment to help recapture some manufacturing that was lost abroad.”

More than 11,000 manufacturers are located in New Jersey, employing almost 400,000 skilled workers.

“These are good-paying, crucial jobs and we need to do everything possible to protect them,” said Senator Bucco. “I think we all left the round table discussion feeling optimistic about the ability of manufacturing to adapt and meet the challenges, but we understand the road will not be easy in a state known for high taxes and over-regulation. I look forward to working with my colleagues and our manufacturers to ensure this caucus continues to meet on a regular basis to create and advocate for legislation that will strengthen New Jersey’s position as a thriving manufacturing center.”

Ten representatives from manufacturing addressed the panel via Zoom, often discussing the impact of New Jersey’s response to the coronavirus on business and how the sector could be affected by the pandemic in the months ahead.

The leaders asked for help funding the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program, a not-for-profit company that works with small to mid-sized manufacturers to help them become more efficient.

Senator Oroho emphasized the need for legislative action on his bill (S-1957), also sponsored by Senator Bucco, that would use monies from the Workforce Development Partnership Fund to bolster the NJMEP.

Many manufacturers were deemed essential and continued to operate and produce goods through the lockdown.

“What we saw play out during the crisis was a testimony to the capability and willingness of manufacturers to adapt to rapidly changing conditions and consumer needs,” said Senator Testa. “New Jersey residents owe a debt of gratitude to the businesses that kept their lines rolling to ensure a ready supply of the goods people need in a crisis. Some New Jersey manufacturers completely pivoted operations to produce high-demand personal protective equipment like face shields and hospital gowns, helping keep healthcare professionals safe and controlling the spread of the virus. We applaud their efforts and will continue to fight in Trenton to make the state more business friendly. It is time to make the Trenton bridge mean something again: ‘Trenton Makes, The World Takes’.”

Representatives of NJMEP, the New Jersey Business and Industry Association also joined the panel, as well as the National Manufacturing Association and the National Manufacturing Extension Program.

The goal of the discussion was discerning ways the legislature can support New Jersey’s manufacturers.

“New Jersey manufactures need our support as we slowly but surely recover from the shutdown,” said Senator Sam Thompson. “Enacting suggestions and reforms directly from industry experts will help our state better utilize and maximize the potential of our local manufactures. These productive meetings help keep New Jersey moving.”

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