Manufacturing in State of the State Addresses: New Jersey

Gov. Chris Christie did not mention manufacturing or industry in his State of the State address Tuesday. His speech, entitled “For New Jersey: It’s time to do the big things,” instead concentrated on fiscal issues and highlighted Gov. Christie’s efforts to turn the state and state government around, making it more responsive and competitive.

But you don’t have to cite the specific words — manufacturing, industry — to be relevant to manufacturers. The emphasis on competitiveness should indeed strike a chord with business, industry and the citizens of New Jersey. Christie, a Republican, said:

For New Jersey: it’s time to do the big things. For this year, the biggest things fall in three categories:

One: We must stick to the course of fiscal discipline.
Two: We must fix our pension and health benefit systems in order to save them.
And three: We must reform our schools to make them the best in the nation.

On these three, what is at stake is no less than the future of New Jersey.

You see, we are in a global competition, and we are in a competition among states.

If we cannot shed regulations, reduce spending, and hold the line on taxes, we cannot attract and create the jobs our citizens so desperately need.

If we cannot make the promises of our pension system more realistic, there will be no pensions.

And if we cannot repair our schools, our people will not be ready for the jobs of the future.

The National Association of Manufacturers has long emphasized the need for the United States and U.S. government to create an economic and business climate that is more globally competitive. (See our 2010 policy guide and call to action, “Manufacturing Strategy for Jobs and a Competitive America.”) Gov. Christie’s remarks fit well with that vision of competitiveness.

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