New Jersey's 21st Legislative District

Senator Tom Kean, Jr.

Senator Tom Kean

Kean: NJ Should Compete in Amazon’s Search for Home of New HQ, Billions in Investment & Tens of Thousands of Jobs

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Says State Should Continue Long-Term Efforts to Keep Improving Business Environment

As part of Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean’s continued emphasis on creating jobs in New Jersey, he encouraged State and local officials to put together proposals to compete for Amazon’s newly announced headquarters, and to identify programs and policies the Legislature and Executive branch can improve upon to make New Jersey’s business environment more attractive over both the short- and long-term.

Sen. Tom Kean encouraged State and local officials to compete for Amazon’s newly announced headquarters, and to identify opportunities to improve upon New Jersey’s business environment. (Wikimedia Commons)

“New Jersey has benefits for businesses, employees, and their families that no other location in the country can match,” said Kean. “We have direct access to markets, capital, and culture being within an hour of two major cities, we’re home to one of the nation’s premier international airports, our schools and universities compete globally, our workforce is among the most highly skilled in America, and the Jersey Shore offers the best beach experience in the United States. There’s no reason that New Jersey should not compete for Amazon and every other business that’s looking for a place to locate.”

Amazon recently announced plans to build a second corporate headquarters, dubbed “HQ2,” that would serve as a full equal to their current headquarters in Seattle. According to the company’s announcement, they expect to invest more than $5 billion in construction and to employ as many as 50,000 people in high-paying jobs at the new headquarters.

They have requested city and regional economic development organizations across North America to submit proposals to host HQ2 by October 19th.

“We’ve already heard from some county executives that they plan to compete for Amazon’s HQ2, and we encourage every locality that may be interested to submit a proposal,” said Kean. “New Jersey’s many business resources, including the Business Action Center, ChooseNJ, and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, can be tapped to help highlight the benefits and support available to employers in the Garden State.”

Noting the potential need for imminent action to pass legislation that may be identified as necessary during this process, Kean called on the Legislature to be prepared to act quickly.

“In this specific instance, the time frame to act may be short and the potential benefit to New Jersey enormous,” Kean said. “The Legislature should be ready to address any emergent needs in a timely fashion.”

He highlighted existing and potential legislation that should be advanced to further increase the state’s competitiveness. These bills would:

  • Improve tax incentives for STEM businesses and our technology transfer infrastructure. This will encourage a robust innovation ecosystem through enhanced research and development.
  • Pursue reforms to make major green building projects less expensive. We should also consider incentives to retrofit and/or reuse our existing office park infrastructure.
  • Develop tighter permitting processes, including guaranteed timelines for major projects, and assign an ombudsman to help major employers navigate our regulations, laws, and government entities.
  • Limit additional burdensome labor mandates from our State and local governments.
  • Further expand workforce development through the expansion of our vocational-technical schools and STEM opportunities in K-12 schools, and provide a preference for technology companies that may invest heavily in New Jersey.

Kean said those reforms, if enacted, would expand upon the diligent efforts of Senate Republicans to make New Jersey a better and more affordable place to live and do business.

“We’ve held the line on business and income taxes, slashed bureaucratic red tape, and made progress in reducing the massive cost of public employee benefits that many other states around the country have struggled to address,” said Kean. “Ultimately, these successes will lower costs and increase affordability for any business looking to set up shop or expand in New Jersey.”

Kean highlighted other recent successes that should make New Jersey more attractive to businesses, like Amazon, including:

  • The passage of the Building Our Future Bond Act, which he sponsored, dedicating $750 million to finance capital projects at New Jersey’s public and private colleges and universities. This demonstrates a commitment to producing a steady stream of educated residents for the needs of the workforce.
  • The enactment of his legislation creating the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education and Business Partnerships, which coordinates research opportunities with employers and works to better tailor what’s being taught at our four-year and county colleges, and vo-tech schools, to match the changing needs of the workforce.
  • The signing of legislation he sponsored, the New Jersey International Arbitration, Mediation, and Conciliation Act, which allows the state’s international arbitration centers to facilitate the resolution of international business, trade, commercial, and other disputes. Only nine other states have passed similar legislation creating a quick and efficient dispute resolution process, with arbitral awards that are enforceable under international law.

“We’ve made significant progress in improving New Jersey’s business environment in recent years and must demonstrate a continued commitment to maintaining this positive course over the long-term,” said Kean. “This will improve New Jersey’s chances of competing successfully for every business that’s exploring new opportunities.”

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