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Downtown Redevelopment And The 800 Pound Gorilla

I mentioned last week that New Jersey added 1500 government jobs in November 2009, according to the SUNDAYMONEY section of the Asbury Park Press. This week that same page reports that New Jersey lost 10,900 private sector jobs that very same month according to the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Apparently the only kind of “workforce development” this state is capable of is jobs for bureaucrats. In the meantime they have destroyed 10,900 real jobs. Perhaps we should go a couple of months with no state Department of Labor and Workforce Development and see if we can do any worse without their “help”.

Last September the Tax Foundation rated New Jersey the worst place in America to run a business due to it’s suffocating tax and regulatory environment.

Last month the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, in their Small Business Survival Index, rated New Jersey the 50th best state to have a business for the same reasons.

Last year Chief Executive magazine rated New Jersey only 47th out of 50 states as a good place to do business. Yay! We weren’t last! I guess they were being charitable.

In all this talk about downtown redevelopment in Belmar nobody wants to mention the 800 pound gorilla in the room, namely that New Jersey is an absolutely horrible place to have a business. Since the Democrats have controlled Trenton for the better part of a decade, don’t expect the Belmar Democrats to bring this up. Add to that the unpredictability of federal tax, regulatory, and monetary policy. Who would want to start or expand a business at this time, knowing the hostility the Democrat-controlled federal government has towards successful enterprises?

The solution to empty storefronts in Belmar does not lie in new street lights, garbage cans or underground wires. Forcing business owners to install fancy new facades and sidewalks will not bring prosperity. What politicians don’t understand is that the thing businesses want most from all levels of government is to be left alone. For entrepreneurs, their business is their way of expressing their creative talent. Many could make far more money working for someone else but choose to do things their own way. Nobody has a dream of having a “public-private partnership”, or of “working together” with government officials to create some sort of “vibrant community”. I owned a small business for 12 years, 10 of them in Milltown. The whole time in Milltown I never met a public official. I never even knew who the mayor was. They never interfered with my business and for that I am grateful. And I never once thought “gee, I wish the city would come down here and work with me to improve my business and help create a bright future for Milltown.”

If Belmar really wants to attract and retain businesses, the best thing we can do is keep them safe, keep their taxes low, and otherwise stay out of their way. And we should be lobbying Trenton and Washington to get out of their way, too.

One Comment

  1. Steve wrote:

    With the exception of your comment about the “hostility (of) the Democrat-controlled federal government,” very well said.

    Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

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