Job Creation In New Jersey: The Christie Solution

Friday, July 1, 2011 - 00:00

Al Driver

Editor

In our pages, we have provided ample evidence that the green shoots of recovery are emerging as innovative people address current needs in new ways. In a recent issue, the general counsel of Solar City described how his company's innovative approach to spurring the use of solar energy had led to phenomenal growth in contracts for its services. To keep pace with this growth, he found he needed to automate contract production through use of innovative software provided by Business Integrity.

One of the most active areas of innovation of specific interest to corporate counsel is the race to develop software that reduces exploding eDiscovery costs. We are proud that so many eDiscovery vendors have used our pages to describe their services. In this issue, the CEO of Recommind describes Predictive Coding, its innovative approach to reducing eDiscovery costs. Like Solar City, its rapid growth has been fueled by a willingness to make large investments of time and money in its business. Our August issue will include a Special Section further exploring the struggle of man vs. machine in the eDiscovery arena - the match of the 21st century.

Small businesses are responsible for 50 to 65 percent of the job growth during a recovery. This is attributable to the multiplier effect that occurs as innovative unemployed people search ways to use their talents. Many form new businesses. They create job growth not only within their own small businesses, but also by using independent contractors to handle work that is not part of the core skills of their staffs. The ability to use independent contractors is a vital mechanism for job creation because it enables small businesses to draw upon the skills of people who in turn operate small businesses and would otherwise be unemployed.

The fact that small business activity is currently close to non-existent is apparent if one walks in either direction along Route 22, a major commercial highway, in front of the building housing our editorial office in Mountainside, New Jersey. Many of the buildings that once bustled with small business activity are either completely unoccupied or have only one or two tenants. To change this situation, Governor Christie has launched a dedicated effort to make sure that New Jersey is open for business.

In April 2011, we published an interview with New Jersey's Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, in which she outlined the Christie administration's push for Common Sense Reforms , the purpose of which is "to increase the predictability, transparency and timeliness of the regulatory process."

Further, the Christie administration developed the Partnership for Action, dedicated to growing New Jersey's economy and creating jobs. In this issue, we offer an interview with Linda Kellner, acting executive director, New Jersey Business Action Center (BAC), one of the three entities that make up the Partnership for Action. Among other services, the BAC assists businesses with navigating New Jersey's regulatory process, and it reinforces the Christie administration executive orders aimed at regulatory reforms that support the idea that regulations should serve a concrete purpose and not be overly burdensome.

We applaud the Christie administration's efforts to lead New Jersey out of recession.We are confident that it will be successful and that the ample rental space along Route 22 that is ideal for small businesses will soon be filled.

Philip Kirschner, president of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA), outlined the importance of independent contractors to economic growth and echoed concerns that "[a] number of regulatory agencies follow unpublished internal guidelines. While those guidelines should not have the force of law, through the Administrative Procedure Act, they are enforced as law. That is completely unfair and counterproductive."

Regulations should be transparent in their purpose, clearly stated in the law and made generally available to businesses that are eager to comply. Transparency is essential to the rule of law.

Governor Christie's office is to be praised for quickly responding to legitimate business concerns about agency practices and then contacting the agencies to encourage them seriously to consider those concerns that proactively contribute to business growth. Prompt responses from the Governor's officeto concerns about actions of state agenciesaffectingbusiness growth sends a clear message to state regulators that the State of New Jersey is serious about eliminating barriers to job creation.

In support of our view is a letter on this page in which Mr. Kirschner applauds the efforts of "Governor Chris Christie and the Legislature on improving the state's business climate, which is leading to tangible changes in taxes, regulatory reform, and economic development. What's more, New Jersey businesses are noticing the difference."

We agree.