TRENTON – Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald on Wednesday expressed concern about new figures showing New Jersey ranked 47th in the nation last year for real gross domestic product growth.
“This data is very, very concerning,” said Greenwald (D-Camden/Burlington). “We’re more than two years into the Christie administration, so the governor can no longer blame others for his failed economic policies. Gov. Christie needs to take a long hard look at these numbers and hold himself accountable for the fact that nearly every other state enjoying more economic output than New Jersey. New Jersey is, in fact, actually losing ground.”
The data released by the U.S. Department of Commerce show New Jersey’s real GDP decreased 0.5 percent last year, even though nationally overall real GDP by state grew 1.5 percent in 2011.
“The governor needs to finally understand that slogans don’t create economic output,” Greenwald said. “What creates economic output is the pro-middle-class policies Gov. Christie has vetoed time and time again. Unfortunately, Gov. Christie has been more concerned with creating catchy slogans and traveling the country than focusing on New Jersey’s economy, and now statistics are unfortunately bearing that out.”
New Jersey was outpaced in GDP growth by every state except Alabama, Mississippi and Wyoming. Neighboring states had increases, with Connecticut at 2 percent, Delaware at 1.6 percent, Pennsylvania at 1.2 percent and New York at 1.1 percent.
New Jersey saw declines in agriculture, utilities, construction, non-durable goods manufacturing, transportation and warehousing, real estate, educational services and accommodation and food services.
”New Jersey is ranked at the bottom with Alabama, Mississippi and Wyoming,” Greenwald said. “That’s unacceptable. The governor may enjoy his false slogans and flippant comments, but the numbers show the Christie economy is not only in the doldrums, but is falling behind other states, most notably our neighbors. That’s very worrisome for New Jersey’s middle-class and poor who have borne the brunt of the governor’s misguided policies.”
Greenwald noted New Jersey’s 9.1 percent unemployment rate is nearly a point higher than the national average. He also noted property taxes have increased a net 20 percent under Christie while the governor protected $40,000 annual tax cuts for millionaires.
“The governor’s unrelenting zeal to protect tax cuts for the mega-rich over tax relief and services for the middle-class has left New Jersey trailing the pack when it comes to economic growth,” Greenwald said. “The governor’s policies have failed, and if he doesn’t change course soon and join us in our efforts to help the middle-class, the damage will get even worse.”
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