Source: Burlington County Times -
New Jersey Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick wants changes at the state level such as the formation of long-term strategic planning committees to address such major issues as school funding and public employee pensions.
Yet Tuesday, during a tour of Johnson’s Corner Farm on Hartford Road, Bramnick appeared more interested in talking about the concerns of small-business people like Eric Johnson, co-owner of the farm that is more than 60 years old.
“Farmers are job creators,” said Bramnick, R-21st of Westfield, Union County. “Although their business burdens may be different than traditional small businesses, the burden that Trenton places on them to hire additional employees is just as daunting.”
“We need to freeze additional mandates, regulations and taxes that cripple their ability to grow jobs and unfreeze the potential of these entrepreneurs to get New Jersey back to work and jump-start our state economy,” he said.
Under sunny skies and with dozens of customers milling around the farm known for its agritourism, Bramnick, along with 8th District Republican legislators Dawn Marie Addiego and Chris Brown, toured the complex. They even took a hayride around portions of the farm, guided by Eric Johnson.
Bramnick visited the farm as part of his “fiscal sanity” tour, launched this past summer.
Asked about the issue of funding for the state Transportation Trust Fund, Bramnick said he wanted to hear a number of ideas before making a decision.
“I’m not in favor of raising the gas tax, but I’m not ruling it out,” he said.
Pressed about where he would find revenue for infrastructure, Bramnick said he would not specify one funding source over another until further study and hearing from other legislators.
As for Johnson’s farm, the lawmakers on the tour were strong in their praise for the family’s efforts to stay in business — and provide jobs, including for young people.
“Johnson’s farm is a success and one that needs to be told,” said Addiego, an Evesham resident who serves in the state Senate. “It’s a landmark.”
Assemblyman Chris Brown said it was great for Bramnick to visit Johnson’s because it showed the value of little businesses that get overlooked.
“Small-business people feel they aren’t being heard in Trenton,” said Brown, owner of a real estate company in Evesham.
Bramnick said he was concerned about the increasing impact of state mandates — such as minimum wage laws — on businesses.
Before leaving the farm, he said the only mandate he would impose in Trenton would be to require legislators to travel to places outside their districts such as Johnson’s and see what small-business people and residents are saying and feeling about state government.
“We want to make it easier in this state to create jobs,” he said.