A just-released analysis finds New Jersey has the least competitive business climate in the region and Gov. Phil Murphy's proposed state spending plan will make it even worse.

Michele Siekerka, president of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, said the NJBIA Regional Business Climate report for 2019 measured taxes and costs in New Jersey and Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania, looking at the minimum wage, the top income tax rate, the top corporate business tax rate, the state sales tax, property taxes and the unemployment tax rate.

“Unfortunately, the math leaves us with New Jersey falling woefully at the end of the pack," she said.

“The continued pattern of funding additional spending through increasing taxes and costs is absolutely the formula fueling our high cost of affordability here in the state of New Jersey.”

She said to get the Garden State on a responsible fiscal path, lawmakers must deal with “our pension system, our investment in infrastructure, that is, our health care costs. These are things we have to look at seriously.”

Siekerka said the state is heading in the wrong direction.

“The state’s long-term debt obligations resulting from our pensions has skyrocketed 382 percent over the last 10 years," she said. “We did this same analysis in 2018 and while we ranked last already in 2018, this year with the increased cost on corporate business tax, we’ve only now made ourselves even more of an extreme outlier."

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