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In light of the country’s continued economic woes, Assemblymen Ruben J. Ramos, Jr. and Nelson Albano are pushing legislation to protect jobs at home and discourage the “outsourcing” of American jobs to other countries.

The bill – A998 – would prohibit business entities from being eligible to perform any state contract or receive any state grant if the business eliminates jobs performed by its employees in the United States and assigns those functions to workers in a foreign nation.

“Now more than ever we need to be conscious of the businesses New Jersey invests in,” said Ramos (D-Hudson). “We should be using every reDest at our disposal to help retain and attract jobs to our country, and our state in particular.”

The bill also prohibits state funds or funds under the custody or control of the state from being invested in the securities of such a business entity.

“With unemployment rates remaining at an all-time high, we should be using taxpayer dollars to benefit our taxpayers,” said Albano (D-Cape May/Atlantic/Cumberland). “Companies should not be allowed to profit from state contracts while shipping all the jobs overseas when people in New Jersey are dying for work.”

Prior to receiving any state contract or grant, a business entity will be required to certify in writing to the state agency awarding the contract or grant that it is not prohibited by the bill’s provisions from performing such contract or receiving such grant. A business entity that is awarded any state contract or grant must agree that during the duration of the contract or grant it will not engage in conduct that would make it ineligible to receive a contract or grant under the bill.

The Division of Investment in the Department of the Treasury is also directed not to invest any state funds in the securities of any business until the division determines that such investment is not prohibited by the bill’s provisions.

The measure is currently awaiting a hearing before the Assembly State Government Committee.