New Jersey faces a serious problem with business owners leaving the state. Some have called it the “millionaire drain”. I prefer to call it the “job creator drain”.
I am among those small business owners who have given up NJ residency, although I still hold out hope for recovery and the possibility of returning someday. Other baby boomers like me are moving out of New Jersey at shocking numbers to dodge the state’s exorbitant taxes while even more low-income and often undocumented people move into the state to take their place take advantage of the state’s social services. This has contributed to our region of southwest New Jersey as being the most economically depressed in the nation. The 10 year regional economic forecast is bleak.
The state officially estimates that more than 70% of the workers in some industries like agriculture and fishing are undocumented workers. My own observations in rural Cumberland County put the undocumented worker percentage even higher. Meanwhile, I see plenty of public pensioners collecting incomes that most of today’s active work force will never even come close to attaining. It is grossly out of balance. Those attempting to start a business can be stalled for years and yes, the process still gets stalled by bribery or extortion attempts by government officials. It’s just a mess and, until now, it seemed that nobody wants to take on the toughest issues directly.
The New Jersey Society of CPAs, the NJ Chamber of Commerce, the New Jersey Business and Industry Association and New Jersey’s acting State Treasurer Ford M. Scudder recently joined efforts to begin working on these economic issues affecting economic status of the state. The state faces huge bureaucratic obstacles including business licensing and permitting, operating fees, real estate taxes, estate tax, inheritance tax, public pensions and other issues stunting economic growth.
I remain active through several of these groups and a few others that are working toward finding a solution. Next month I will film a promotional video for the New Jersey Society of CPAs about the importance of political involvement in this restructuring and economic recovery process. I only hope that I live long enough to see some resulting improvement!