Tag Archive: economic development

Don’t Let Dogma Dictate Immigration Policy

President Trump wants to cut the legal immigration in half over a 10-year span, creating a “merit-based system” that caters to green card applicants who speak English and have technical skills. It would eliminate the diversity lottery visa, reduce the…
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A supermarket story

This is good news.

East Camden is getting a new Fine Fare supermarket, a chain that focuses mainly on Hispanic customers. It will be only the third supermarket of any size in the city. It will bring $3 million in investment – before the store even opens – and 45 permanent jobs.

What’s also good about it is the role Mayor Dana Redd’s government is playing. Here’s what is interesting:

Getting the project together has already taken a year, according to the businessmen.

They were aided by Camden officials, particularly Vincent Basara, Mayor Dana Redd’s business ombudsman.

The city helped get them through the application and permit process, said Basara.

The city persuaded the two to install energy-efficient lights and refrigeration. That qualified them for a $25,000 grant dedicated to upgrading their façade, said Basara.

The city is also moving to take down two abandoned properties, long off the tax rolls, in the rear. That should allow the business to expand the parking lot, said Basara.

The city has unfulfilled hopes of bringing in a major grocery – 50,000 square feet – to the downtown area.

Often times cities focus just on the big projects – like that downtown supermarket. They are hard to pull off, they require a ton of money, and they often fail.

It’s good to see Camden also making things work on the smaller stuff – in a neighborhood location (not downtown), 15,000 square feet (not 50,000 square feet), and so on. That small stuff adds up – with 45 jobs here and 45 jobs there. And it’s much more likely to stick over time because it starts from someone who sees an opportunity, not a preconceived notion that it would be great to have a downtown supermarket.

Not to say that big plans aren’t important – often they really are. Imagine Hudson County without the PATH train or Atlantic City without the boardwalk. But cities often make the mistake of thinking that only big things make a difference. And often it’s the small things that do when they add up, and government has an important, if not flashy, role to play.

Well done, Mayor Redd.

Look busy: Christie, jobs, and the #7 line

Maybe 10 years ago, I read a book called Omon Ra published in Russia right after the fall of the USSR. In the book, a teenager is sent to Soviet space camp, which turns out to be a rusting set of “spaceships” – but everyone has to pretend that they are really training for the space program.

The book has a lot to do with the Christie Administration’s economic development strategy. Despite an anemic job creation record that pales in comparison with the rest of the country – and that’s saying something in these economic times – we are all supposed to pretend that Christie knows something about economic development and is creating “Jersey jobs.” In reality, the Christie Politburo cares far more about enforcing the ideological line than creating or saving jobs. But if you actually say that – or do anything other than participate in the charade – then you become persona non grata with the Christie Administration, which is not an option for most businesses in the state – as Christie made clear by forcing the firing the head of the NJ Chamber of Commerce when she disagreed with him.

The #7 line extension to New Jersey is a case study in this charade. More below the fold.

Economic Development Combined with Tax Relief Proposed by Connie Cain Hamilton Township (Mercer) NJ

Connie Carella-Dalton Reveals an Innovative Tax Relief Proposal in her Campaign for Hamilton Township Mayor

Connie Carella-Dalton revealed a Tax Relief Program for Hamilton Township residents that combines a “Shop Local” program for economic development and ties it to the Township’s Taxation Department.

Hamilton Township has over 40,000 households that shop all across Mercer and Burlington Counties. Often times, Hamiltonians partonize businesses from out of the township despite that similar services are available within the Township.

As a means to incentivize Hamiltonians to spend more of their dollars within the Township, Carella-Dalton is proposing to issue a Municpal Tax Rebate Card to residents. When the resident uses their Tax Rebate Card at a participating business the business can chose to apply any portion of their existing discount program to the Hamiltonian’s “Tax Rebate account”

Business leaders: bad housing bill = jobs going to PA

promoted by Rosi

While the Legislature and Gov. Christie fiddle with a badly flawed housing bill, NJ’s economy burns – especially in the cradle of the state’s economic strength in the 80s and 90s, the Route One corridor.

A joint op-ed today by a cross-section of non-profits and business leaders in the Ledger calls the Route One corridor – “Einstein’s Alley” between Rutgers and Princeton – “poorly positioned to attract private sector investment as the economy rebounds.” It suggests that Educational Testing Services – one of the main employers – is considering moving future jobs to Pennsylvania because its employees can’t find homes here. And it says that municipalities in the Route One corridor, based on a study by PlanSmart NJ, will only allow one home for every four new jobs (as compared to a historic one to one ratio) – which will produce Los Angeles-style traffic congestion by 2025.

Hello? Is anyone in the State House listening?

Instead of addressing this problem, which stems from, according to the article, “too little zoning for housing,” the Legislature seems bent on making it worse. The Housing and Local Government on Monday passed a bill that would expand municipalities’ ability to turn down starter homes and apartments. Which would likely lead to even fewer homes in the Route One corridor. And more jobs moving out of state.

The op-ed calls for a better approach to state laws on housing and planning. That approach would focus a wide range of new homes – for families at all income levels plus seniors and people with special needs – near jobs and transportation. If towns like West Windsor and Plainsboro are going to see massive job growth, they should not be able to turn down homes for the people working in those jobs.

Then again, if the Legislature moves forward with its current proposal, the jobs just might follow the homes, as the CEO of ETS hints in the article – all the way to Pennsylvania.