However, to date, we have learned from the data chartbook phase of our project that New Jersey’s population and economy is distinct from other states in terms of the age distribution of the population (lack of young adults), probably related to the apparent under-investment of the state government and under-participation of both NJ households and businesses in the public higher education system. New Jersey appears to be lacking a longer-term, big-picture strategy for achieving a sustainable economy and hence sustainable fiscal outlook. Immediate, short-term (and near-sighted) responses to shrinking economic bases tend to be raising tax rates and cutting public funding, which only drives more people and businesses out of NJ—creating a vicious cycle. A new approach to sustain and revitalize the NJ economy is needed–one that looks beyond the government’s balance sheet and involves input from all participants in the NJ economy to discover, develop and implement the most effective policy strategies, together.
Ultimately, we believe the best strategies would hit areas of overlap where synergies and mutual benefits can be found and collaboration/partnership would naturally follow. The chart below illustrates how we will focus on Phase 2 to begin identifying solutions.