TRENTON) - The General Assembly on Tuesday approved legislation Assembly Democrats Gabriela M. Mosquera, Craig J. Coughlin, Gary S. Schaer, John S. Wisniewski, Benjie E. Wimberly and Joseph Cryan sponsored to revitalize the state's manufacturing industry with new corporate status, tax incentives and employee participation in corporate decision-making process. This legislation is one of numerous measures sponsored by Assembly Democrats to spur growth in job creation and economic development throughout the state.
The Lawmakers said the measure was designed to provide an incentive for manufacturing companies to create well-paying manufacturing jobs in New Jersey that will remain in the state long-term.
"Historically, a thriving manufacturing industry is a sign of a viable economy and a source of financial stability for many families, from low- to high-level skilled workers," said Mosquera (D-Camden, Gloucester). "Encouraging these corporations to build, employ and to do business here will reinvigorate New Jersey's economy. In turn, the industry can reclaim its stake as an integral part in back bone of the American economy."
"It is imperative to growing the state's economy that we encourage, retain and grow New Jersey's manufacturing industry over the next few years," said Coughlin (D-Middlesex). "This invaluable industry affords the state the ability to play a role in innovation and invention."
"The manufacturing industry has seen a steep decline in jobs over the years, much due to lack of needed tax incentives and participation from the dedicated workers, our New Jersey residents," said Schaer (D-Bergen,Passaic). "The Garden State Manufacturing Jobs Act provides the incentive to expand the industry and promote job creation."
The bill (A-3582), "The Garden State Manufacturing Act," would permit the establishment of Garden State Corporations which are principally engaged in manufacturing with facilities based in New Jersey. It would offer a tax incentive to manufacturing companies with employee-elected board members; and a more generous tax incentive to a company also designated as a "benefit corporation." A benefit corporation (P.L.2011, c.30 (C.14A:18-1 et seq.) is a corporate structure that allows a for-profit corporation to place a social benefit--for example, paying a living wage, creating affordable housing, using only renewable energy, etc.--above the profit motive, thereby insulating board members from shareholder lawsuits for failure to maximize profits.
"Massive layoffs are a notable sign of economic instability that we, unfortunately, have seen before and during the recession," said Wisniewski (D-Middlesex). "Often decisions to release a substantial part of the workforce are made without constructive input from the people who are ultimately affected, the employees. This bill changes this practice of employee exclusion by requiring their input as elected members of the board of directors."
"Employee involvement roots the business to the community it is in," said Wimberly (D-Bergen, Passaic). "In cities such as Paterson, a thriving manufacturing hub in years past, employee stakeholders would have made it less likely for companies to relocate their business elsewhere. With new state corporation requirements, we give workers an equal voice. It is important for the people who are the reason the company succeeds to have a say in where and how the company performs. "
"Ensuring New Jersey economic growth and stability in our future begins with the industries that have been hit hardest by the recession," said Cryan (D- Union). "The manufacturing industry provided thousands of jobs to New Jersey residents that have been hard to replace. This bill encourages long-term industry growth along with the potential to get more people back to work sooner."
Under the bill's provisions, Garden State Corporations would be required to set procedures for the election of employee-elected board members. It also would require each employee of the corporation, without respect position or corporation, have the right to vote in the selection of the employee or the amount of any ownership interest, have the right to vote in the selection of the employee-elected members of the board of directors, with the vote of the employee vote having equal weight with the vote of any other employee, the right to seek election to the board of directors and serve full on the board, if elected. The bill also provides for procedures for conversion to or from Garden State Corporation status for other corporations. The bill would take effect on the July 1 next following the date of enactment.
The measure was released 48-28-0 and now heads to the Senate for further consideration.
To read more, please visit the New Jersey General Assembly Democratic Office Web site.
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