In the News

New Jersey Battles for Bigger Share of Military, Avionics Sectors

NJSPOTLIGHT

June 24, 2013

As seen in this article, "As the premier military installation in the United States, Joint Base McGuire – Dix – Lakehurst (JB MDL) contributes $7 billion dollars annually to the local economy. It’s not just the largest employer in South Jersey, it’s the No. 2 employer in the state -- second only to the state itself.

But New Jersey’s defense industry comprises far more than just the joint base. And those working to maximize its impact on the state economy say it's mission critical to leverage existing infrastructure and talent in the face of impending cuts to the federal defense budget. They also say it's crucial to grow profits and jobs in conjunction with New Jersey’s uniquely positioned aerospace industry.

Last week, however, Gov. Chris Christie lightened the mood when he signed an executive order creating a task force to issue recommendations to 'preserve, enhance, and strengthen' New Jersey’s military installations. New Jersey will join other states that have organized a comprehensive approach to saving their military installations, including, in some cases, sending lobbyists to Washington. The governor's action gives supporters of the state’s defense and aerospace industries another weapon in their fight to make New Jersey one of the nation’s leaders in this sector.

By the end of the current General Assembly session, New Jersey could become an even more welcoming place for aeronautical companies. The Christie-endorsed Economic Opportunity Act of 2013 specifically targets aviation and defense companies for extra bonuses for locating new facilities or retaining full-time jobs inside an aviation zone instead of elsewhere in New Jersey. As written, the bill creates only one such zone: a one-mile radius around the Atlantic City airport.

'I call this the Goldilocks Effect,' said attorney Ted Zangari, who chairs the Public Policy and Governmental Affairs Practice Group for the Princeton firm Sills Cummins & Gross. 'It’s not too stingy, it’s not too generous. I can say confidently it will be a rare occurrence where we sit awkwardly with a company telling the lieutenant governor that another governor is offering a larger pot of money. It’ll be "game over" for any company considering locating in another state.'"