Assembly Budget Chairman Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson/Bergen) on Tuesday’s Assembly committee hearing on job creation and economic development:
“To the members of the committee, I appreciate all your hard work and dedication, as I know this committee often is called upon to tackle some of our state?s most complex problems.
Today is no different.
New Jersey faces great challenges when it comes to rebuilding after Sandy.
That was never more apparent than when we recently had the chance to tour the devastation along the shore.
Recovering from Sandy will be a major endeavor, but when we do so, we also must tackle one of our state?s underlying problems – the lagging economy and unemployment rate 2 points higher than the national average.
After all, a stronger, more robust economy will help benefit the entire state.
We already faced a need to focus on job creation and economic growth, and that need is now exacerbated.
What?s required now is a multi-faceted approach to reinvigorate our economy?
§ Giving businesses the tools to grow;
§ Providing training for fields with the greatest workforce shortages;
§ Investing in up and coming job sectors; and
§ Providing assistance to those struggling the most to get ahead in this economy ? women, minorities, veterans and those fighting to earn a livable wage.
Building off the legislation we just approved to increase the minimum wage, the initiatives we consider today will create a solid, stronger economic foundation in the years to come?one with better, higher paying jobs and a greater quality of life for everyone.
And let me be clear ? this is just the start.
This is not a one-day effort.
With the challenges we face after Sandy, we must all work together as Assembly members, not as Democrats or Republicans.
Some cynics out there reviled in the idea that the mention of a jobs package was the end of the recent burst of bipartisanship.
I reject that notion.
To that end, I say to my Republican colleagues, please join us in this effort.
If you have ideas to make these bills better while keeping their intent intact, please offer them.
If you have other ideas to help reinvigorate our economy, please put them on the table.
This is one hearing, and Dec. 17 is one voting session.
But this focus will be a continued effort, and I hope it?s one that we do together for the benefit of our state.
For I believe these are bills we can all support as we move to rebuild our middle-class and rebuild our state.”