Lawmakers focus on reviving New Jersey economy

 New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney and other Democrats outline their plan to focus on better investment to jump-start the state's economy. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney and other Democrats outline their plan to focus on better investment to jump-start the state's economy. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

Democrats in the New Jersey Senate are focusing on developing legislative plans to boost the state’s economy.

 

Over the next six weeks, the Democrats will consider the best place to invest to improve early childhood education, college affordability, retirement security, and transportation.

Sen. Jim Whelan, D-Atlantic, said New Jersey has many assets, but its economic growth has been stagnant for six years.

“One of the ways that we need to jump-start our economy is through public-private partnerships,” he said. “We know, quite honestly, the public sector can do it more quickly and more cheaply in most instances than the private sector.”

Senate President Steve Sweeney said a tax increase is needed to replenish the Transportation Trust Fund.

“Whether it’s going to be a gas tax, a sales tax, they’ll be some kind in order to fix the roads and bridges,” said Sweeney, D-Gloucester. “Otherwise you won’t have them and you just can’t do fare increases on a regular basis because that doesn’t cut it.”

Lawmakers will also consider reallocating existing revenue to fund their proposals.

Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean said he hopes the Democrats’ proposals will not translate into more taxes.

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