Above: Gottheimer stands with Paramus Mayor Rich LaBarbiera outside the future site of Stew Leonard’s supermarket in Paramus to announce two new bipartisan bills to cut red tape to boost jobs and economic growth.
Today, Monday, June 10, 2019, outside a soon-to-opened Stew Leonard’s, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) announced that this week he will be introducing two new bipartisan bills to cut federal red tape and outdated bureaucracy to create jobs and spur economic growth – all while protecting what matters most — our air and water, our food, our health and safety, and our families and children. The bipartisan bills are the Regulatory Improvement Act and the Comprehensive Regulatory Review Act.
Gottheimer also shined a spotlight on the best practices in cutting red tape in New Jersey and other states and the costs of unnecessary bureaucracy to jobs and economic growth. Both bipartisan bills will bring these successes to the federal level. Gottheimer joined Mayor LaBarbiera and the third-generation Vice President of Stew Leonard’s who announced 400 new jobs today. Paramus hasn’t raised property taxes in eight years.
New Jersey is currently ranked 49th of all 50 dates in terms of business friendliness. Gottheimer noted this issue stems from New Jersey’s high taxes, which soared even higher after the SALT deduction was gutted; crumbling infrastructure that impacts commutes and hurts productivity; and red tape that’s holding back our businesses, new jobs and projects, and discouraging new investment.
“After speaking with everyone from mom-and-pops to the biggest businesses, New Jersey seems to take the red tape cake. As a result of our state’s layers of bureaucracy, it either takes years of headaches and unnecessary costs to build or locate a business here in New Jersey, or people simply decide to build, locate, or relocate elsewhere, increasingly in states like Pennsylvania, Texas, Florida or North Carolina – costing us jobs and economic opportunity. It could drive you crazy,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). “We have many of the same issues at the federal level. Government bureaucracy comes up with new rules that contradict other rules and layers on new ones without actually getting rid of the old, out-of-date ones. Again, I’m the first one to say we need appropriate guard rails to protect our families and communities – but not ones that are added for the sake of it or just to hold up job creation that we need to put food on the table.”
The bipartisan Regulatory Improvement Act, which Gottheimer will be introducing with Representatives Rodney Davis (IL-13), Ron Kind (WI-3), and Ted Yoho (FL-3), creates an independent, bipartisan commission, the Regulatory Improvement Commission, which will review rules that are outdated, duplicative, or in conflict with one another. The Commission will then present its recommendations to Congress for a simple up or down vote, giving ample opportunity to cut tape at the federal level.
The bipartisan Comprehensive Regulatory Review Act, which Gottheimer will be introducing with Representative Barry Loudermilk (GA-11), requires that financial regulations be reviewed at least every seven years, rather than ten. Doing so will help cut bureaucratic red tape, help our economy thrive, and protect consumers.
“Here in Paramus one of the things we pride ourselves on is a very simple saying – either you’re growing or you’re dying. With the implementation of a plan that ensures our businesses are given the tools to remain competitive in the most competitive market, we’ve seen great prosperity,” said Paramus Mayor Rich LaBarbiera. “We’ve ensured that our taxes remain stable, by eliminating red tape, making sure that our master plan fits in with the needs of our businesses, and, most importantly, our residents. As far as red tape, we’ve streamlined our approval process so that business can get done as quickly as possible. What’s this resulted in? Stable taxes and jobs.”
“We are really excited to be partnering with New Jersey and partnering with a lot of local suppliers and farmers. Retail businesses like us are the backbone of the economy, but we understand that regulation is necessary,” said Stew Leonard’s supermarket Vice President Jake Tavello. “As regulation changes based on the needs of the community and the economy, it has to be efficient. So, we are happy to be here today…”
Below: Gottheimer stands with Paramus Mayor Rich LaBarbiera (left) and Stew Leonard’s Vice President Jake Tavello (right) outside the future site of Stew Leonard’s supermarket in Paramus.
Video of the announcement can be found here.
Gottheimer’s full remarks as prepared for delivery are below.
Thank you Mayor LaBarbiera and Jake Tavello, VP at Stew Leonard’s, the third generation of this family-owned business, for getting this new store up and running.
It’s terrific to be here in Paramus today, America’s top retail zip code, near the future site of the new Stew Leonard’s supermarket, which is set to open this fall — Stew Leonard’s first full-fledged supermarket here in our state. And it’s in the Fifth District. I used to go to the original Stew Leonard’s with my dad as a kid – I loved the ice cream. Thank you for your work and for the investment you are making in North Jersey.
Stew Leonard’s and Paramus worked together to make this happen, and thanks to new, smart, streamlined policies here, were able to get the first shovel in the ground here — and to do so quickly and with minimal bureaucratic red tape. We need more communities in New Jersey to cut unnecessary red tape and bureaucracy, so we can help create more jobs and spur economic growth, all while protecting what matters most – our air, our water, our food, our health and safety, our children and families.
Today, I’m here to shine a spotlight on some of those best practices in New Jersey’s Fifth District towns and successes elsewhere, the costs of unnecessary bureaucracy to jobs and economic growth, and new bipartisan federal legislation that I’ll be introducing to help cut unnecessary red tape, create jobs, and promote smart job growth.
Here’s the reality. According to the 2018 Small Business Policy Index, of all 50 states, New Jersey is currently ranked 49th in terms of business friendliness. Yes, 49th! This stat doesn’t exactly help us attract businesses here or growing those we already have. Not exactly something you would put on a bumper sticker.
Too many Jersey families, millennials and businesses are moving out of our state. According to a recent study, twice as many people moved out of New Jersey in 2018 as moved in. That makes us the number one out-migration state in the country.
If you ask New Jersey’s Chamber of Commerce, we’ve had serious challenges drawing new business or expanding our current businesses in recent years. Take biotech, for example. Despite our strong history and presence in life sciences, when it comes to recent expansion, most of our own companies have been putting their new operations in in Massachusetts, North Carolina, or Silicon Valley. We also have some of the fastest broadband in the country right here in Northern New Jersey, including the whole back end of the New York Stock Exchange in Mahwah. Yet, tech companies, including the exploding fin tech marketplace, simply aren’t choosing New Jersey.
So, what’s the issue? Why is New Jersey not attractive for businesses? I hear the same things from nearly everyone who comes into my office and almost every business I visit.
First, our taxes, at every level, are way too high, and it’s even worse now after they gutted SALT. Second, our roads, bridges, tunnels, and rail are a mess, and that makes the commutes for all our workers painful and it hurts our productivity.
And then, third, I hear about the red tape that’s killing our businesses, holding up new jobs and projects, discouraging new investment or sending it elsewhere.
When I was growing up, my dad ran a small business here in New Jersey. He always told me that he felt the State was always coming up with new agencies every month just to add a new bureaucratic layer to hold up progress –for someone else to ask the same questions or do the same inspection that the last person did. And it was often in direct contradiction to the last direction.
We have many of the same issues at the federal level. Government bureaucracy comes up with new rules that contradict other rules and layers on new ones without actually getting rid of the old, out-of-date ones. Again, I’m the first one to say we need appropriate guard rails to protect our families and communities – but not ones that are added for the sake of it or just to hold up job creation that we need to put food on the table.
After speaking with everyone from mom-and-pops to the biggest businesses, New Jersey seems to take the red tape cake. As a result of our state’s layers of bureaucracy, it either takes years of headaches and unnecessary costs to build or locate a business here in New Jersey, or people simply decide to build, locate, or relocate elsewhere, increasingly in states like Pennsylvania, Texas, Florida or North Carolina – costing us jobs and economic opportunity. It could drive you crazy.
The stories from Jersey businesses are endless about how long inspections take, or how the town will order one change to a project, the business spends tens of thousands fixing it, and then another official comes in from the state and orders it to be undone. One state agency contradicts another, and seems to look for any little thing to hold you up.
Many inspectors in towns are part time, and, if they miss an appointment, you could have to wait weeks or months for them to come back, costing a new store trying to open up thousands they don’t have.
The permitting and review fees from some municipalities have become a big profit making source rather than a way to cover costs, so the longer it takes, the more extra dollars for the towns. The incentive structure is off – for instance, we should reward speed, not delays. And there are no statutory time limits for the public utility companies here, so electric, gas, and telecom can all hold up projects with little to no consequence.
At the New Jersey Department of Health, because of staffing issues, it’s now taking months longer than it should to get license approvals for substance use disorder facilities. These are drug rehab facilities that we desperately need to fight the opioid crisis, but they’re being held up for fourteen to sixteen months, compared to just a few months next door in Pennsylvania. I just wrote a letter to the state about this very issue.
Again, there are plenty of rules and laws that make a lot of sense and there are plenty of others that don’t. The key is not if we protect people and our communities, but how we do it. Many of these states have figured out how to protect their residents, their air, their water, their food, the health — and streamline the process.
What we need is common sense, like here in Paramus, so that when you’re starting a business or trying to open a store like Stew Leonard’s, you don’t have to have twelve people coming in to inspect the same things twelve times.
So, what’s the solution? We need to follow the lead of communities like Paramus. And I have lots of innovative mayors here in my district doing what they can to cut through the red tape and make the process easier, faster, and cheaper — all to help create jobs and economic growth, and protect their communities and families.
What Paramus has done, and I really credit Rich and the Council, is to create a business-friendly environment to encourage job growth and investment. To reorient the rules to encourage smart growth.
Back in 2016, Paramus voted to update their rules, all with the goal of encouraging businesses to locate here. Paramus has increased its revenue by approximately $2 billion dollars as a result. That’s billion with a B. That’s led to more jobs and a huge savings on property taxes for Paramus residents.
Paramus has also developed a program for self-inspection and certification that makes it easier and quicker for businesses to get their inspections and certifications done. And I know Rich has been advocating for this approach on a statewide level – and it’s a great idea.
The new Valley Hospital project, which will be just a few miles from here, took only three meetings to get approved.
Finally, as a result of all of these pro-businesses moves, Paramus has not raised taxes in 8 years. 8 years! It’s already expensive enough to live in New Jersey and we need to be cutting taxes at every level. Thank you, Rich, and the council, for making life more affordable for people here in Paramus, and easier for businesses to operate, come and expand here.
These are all great ideas, and we need to be following in Paramus’ footsteps. There are other great ideas happening in other states that we should follow to help improve that business-friendliness stat.
One business owner recently told me that in Orange County, Florida, after they worked a project through the county’s permitting process, the town actually solicited their feedback on how they could improve things. This business owner had never had any New Jersey municipality or agency ask his opinion before. He also showed us a sheet prepared by Palm Beach County that has each department review the plans and make comments, rather than having to receive a letter from each and every department separately. Huge time saver.
Just over the river in New York, they allow for self-inspections that speed up processes and hold the private inspectors accountable. Think about how that could improve time-to-build not only for businesses, but for our residents, too. It’s the ultimate way to cut red tape!
With all of this in mind, I’m here today to announce that this week, I’ll be introducing two bipartisan bills that will help cut red tape in New Jersey and in every other state: the Regulatory Improvement Act and the Comprehensive Regulatory Review Act.
The bipartisan Regulatory Improvement Act, which I’m introducing with Reps. Rodney Davis, Ron Kind, and Ted Yoho, creates an independent, bipartisan commission, the Regulatory Improvement Commission, which will review rules that are outdated, duplicative, or in conflict with one another. The Commission will then present its recommendations to Congress for a simple up or down vote, giving us ample opportunity to cut tape at the federal level.
The, other bill, the Comprehensive Regulatory Review Act, that I’m introducing with Congressman Barry Loudermilk of Georgia, will require that financial regulations be reviewed every seven years, rather than ten. Doing so will help cut bureaucratic red tape, help our economy thrive, and protect consumers.
And there’s nothing partisan about it. With these bills, both sides of the aisle will help cut outdated and unnecessarily burdensome red tape, unleash more economic opportunity, create jobs, cut taxes, save Americans money, and protect consumers and our families. It’s a win-win.
With other changes at the state level, we can make New Jersey what it must be — a more affordable place to live, work, and do business. It’s time we had a business and jobs welcome sign. After all, we live in a great state with the best schools, the safest and most beautiful communities — and some of the best workers in the world.
We have all the ingredients. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to fight back, and steal back some of the jobs and people other states, and other countries, are taking from us.
In the greatest country in the world, the actions we discussed today will ensure that our best days will always be ahead of us.
Thank you all for being here today. God bless you and God bless the United States of America.