Legislator’s Package Held-Up in Committee while Yet Another Factory Closes
Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -
Assemblyman Sam Fiocchi used the announced closing of a Millville glass plant this week to urge the Legislature to move his proposals encouraging companies to create manufacturing jobs in New Jersey.
“South Jersey can’t wait any longer for the legislative leadership in Trenton to finally address bringing manufacturing jobs back,” said Fiocchi. “Over the past 20 years, our manufacturing superiority has diminished, hurting the job prospects for middle and working class families especially here in South Jersey,” said Fiocchi.
Fiocchi noted the plant closing is especially hard for South Jersey, which has the highest unemployment rate in the state and was ravaged last year by the closure of four casinos that affected 10,000 workers. Almost 150 employees at the Gerresheimer Glass Company will lose their jobs this summer, less than a year after the business laid off 100 other workers.
Last year, Fiocchi introduced a package of five bills that would stimulate the manufacturing sector. Those bills were assigned to the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee but have not been given a hearing.
“Not too long ago, Millville was a thriving manufacturing hub. Steady jobs and good careers were available, and families could afford to raise their children in a nice home,” said Fiocchi. “Those jobs have all but disappeared. The only thing worse than the abandoned factories is the empty wallets of the workers without jobs.
“Manufacturing jobs bring an average wage of $77,000 annually and has to be part of any effort to grow our South Jersey economy,” concluded Fiocchi. “The proposals I’ve introduced will help build our industrial employment by making critical investments and reducing the costs of working in New Jersey.”
Fiocchi’s five-bill package, introduced last April that the Assembly should act on immediately, includes:
A-3110: This measure addresses the changes that have taken place in the industry over time by reducing the number of manufacturing jobs required to qualify for state Economic Development Authority (EDA) financing and incentive programs. Many manufacturing operations require less manpower today due to advances in technology.
A-3111: One of the primary reasons New Jersey suffered sizable job losses in manufacturing is the high cost of electricity. This bill would provide a partial sales tax exemption for energy and utility service to certain manufacturers.
A-3112: This legislation is designed to tilt the manufacturing playing field back to the U.S. as Asian economies have become less competitive. It permits the EDA to provide financial assistance to businesses that relocate to New Jersey from sites in Asia.
A-3113: Provides protection for manufacturing companies that set up shop in New Jersey by prohibiting the state and municipalities from applying new regulations for the first 10 years of operation.
A-3114: Establishes a construction and workforce recruitment and training website in the state Department of Labor and Worker Development.