New Jersey employers’ approval of Republican Governor Chris Christie dropped by 18 percentage points in a year, as their outlook for the state economy worsened after two years of improvement, a survey found.
Fifty-seven percent of the more than 1,000 employers surveyed said the governor was doing a good-to-excellent job, down from 75 percent in last year’s annual survey by the New Jersey Business and Industry Association.
Christie, who has cut business taxes and opposed the Democratic-led legislature’s move to raise the minimum wage, is still the most popular governor since the group first asked that question in 1991. Members remain concerned that New Jersey’s high taxes make it less competitive with neighboring states, the association said.
“They need to see some positive economic signals from state government early in 2015 before they fully commit to opening their wallets,” Michele Siekerka, president of the Trenton-based lobbying organization, said in a statement today.
More companies are expecting sales and profits to increase than those that are anticipating declines, according to the survey. Still, the 24 percent that expect the economy to improve is down from a record 35 percent in 2014.
Businesses are slightly more optimistic about the U.S. economy than they are about New Jersey’s, the survey found. Thirty percent expect improvement, down from 36 percent in 2014.
The cost of health insurance and of doing business in New Jersey remain the biggest challenges, the survey found. New Jersey was the lowest rated in the Washington-based Tax Foundation’s 2015 business tax-climate index, which ranks the 50 states based on how welcoming their tax law is to business.
The group’s questionnaire was sent to 15,640 members, and the report is based on 1,046 responses. Seventy-five percent of respondents reported fewer than 25 employees.
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