TRENTON — The New Jersey Chamber of Commerce announced that it will be bestowing Business Advocates of the Year honors to a tireless Newark attorney who is fighting for smart growth, and to a groundbreaking member of Gov. Chris Christie's cabinet who is making dramatic changes to make his agency more efficient. The Chamber also announced that four state legislators have won the Chamber's biannual Legislative Awards. All six award winners are being honored by the State Chamber for their work advancing New Jersey as a more business friendly state and as a great place to live and work. They will be recognized at the State Chamber's biannual Legislative Awards Reception on Oct. 9 at the Wyndham Hotel in Mount Laurel beginning at 6 p.m.
The two winners of the State Chamber's Business Advocacy Award are:
• Ted Zangari, Busness Attorney, Sills Cummis & Gross
• Bob Martin, Commissioner, state Department of Environmental Protection
The four winners of the N.J. Chamber's Legislative Awards are:
• Senator Fred H. Madden, Jr. (D-4 / Camden and Gloucester Counties)
• Senator Anthony R. Bucco (R-25 / Morris and Somerset Counties)
• Assemblyman John J. Burzichelli (D-3 / Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem Counties)
• Assemblyman David P. Rible (R-30 / Monmouth and Ocean Counties)
The State Chamber selected these lawmakers based on their voting records, bill sponsorships, committee votes and their overall history of supporting economic growth.
"The honorees were selected because each has taken substantive action to improve the state's economic climate and make sure New Jersey takes full advantage of its many assets," said Thomas A. Bracken, president and CEO of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce. "New Jersey faces many challenges, and we are fortunate to have individuals such as these advocating on behalf of economic growth. Through their individual and bipartisan efforts in the areas of government reform, Superstorm Sandy recovery and tax incentives, our award winners are ensuring the Garden State's competitive future."
Profiles of the Business Advocate Award Winners
Ted Zangari, a member of Sills Cummis & Gross, a commercial law firm with offices in Princeton and Newark, and a member of the N.J. Chamber's Board of Directors, is dedicated to New Jersey's goal of expanding the state economy and growing jobs. He has devoted countless hours to crafting, advocating and providing valuable input regarding the "New Jersey Economic Opportunity Act of 2013," which calls for expanding the number of companies eligible for job growth incentives. He established the Smart Growth Economic Development Coalition – a collaboration of over 25 statewide trade associations charged with finding reasonable and balanced solutions to the state's out-migration of jobs and residents, and to address the state's need for smart growth and development. This year, in the spirit of the Coalition, the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce and PlanSmart NJ released a study titled "What Will It Take to Support New Jersey's Industry Clusters," which was distributed to all 120 legislators.
Commissioner Bob Martin, head of the state Department of Environmental Protection and his staff have worked diligently towards transforming the department into a more efficient and customer service-oriented agency, bringing much needed efficiency and predictability to the regulatory arena and responsiveness to all stakeholders and constituents. Under his tenure, the DEP's Licensed Site Remediation Program (LSRP) has been established, reducing the number of contaminated sites in New Jersey and bringing idle properties into productive use. Two major regulatory proposals — the Waiver Rule and the Public Access Rule — were implemented with the input of advice from the New Jersey Chamber. Through Commissioner Martin's leadership, the DEP has played a significant role in the state's post-Sandy rebuilding and recovery efforts. This includes overseeing the removal of debris, restoring water systems and wastewater plants, and rebuilding our beaches and boardwalks.
Profiles of Legislative Award Winners
Senator Madden, chairman of the Senate Labor Committee, championed the suspension of a surcharge on employers to fill the state unemployment fund, a measure that was aggressively pursued by the New Jersey Chamber. That bill, signed into law in June, is saving employers about $300 million in the current budget. Senator Madden was the prime sponsor of the New Jersey Angel Investor Tax Credit Law; he has worked with the Chamber and its concerns with "Ban the Box" legislation, which seeks to limit an employer's ability to ask job applicants about criminal background; and he has tackled government reform by sponsoring a resolution calling for legislators and their family members to disclose public employment and government contracts that they hold.
Senator Bucco, the ranking Republican on the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee and the owner of an adhesive manufacturing company, is a staunch advocate of the business community and consistently raises concerns regarding the effect pending legislation has on employers. He sponsored a version of a bill that exempts sales and use tax from services rendered on computer software that was strongly championed by the State Chamber's Tax Council; he was second prime sponsor of the current state budget, which contains several major business tax reforms; and he sponsored legislation that addresses fraudulent unemployment claims and a tax credit bill for investment in manufacturing equipment and facility upgrades.
Assemblyman Burzichelli, chairman of the Assembly Appropriations Committee, is an active member of the Red Tape Review Commission and has worked on a bipartisan basis to root out duplicitous and onerous state regulations. He was the prime architect of a law (A-1543) that streamlined regulations for creating and operating Limited Liability Companies (LLCs); he sponsored a bill (A-3321) that makes the rulemaking process more accessible and transparent; and he sponsored A-3323 which expedites the departmental permit process, allowing for more efficient and timely decisions. For the past few years, Assemblyman Burzichelli has worked tirelessly toward a government that is smarter, leaner and more responsive.
Assemblyman Rible is a vocal leader on behalf of the business community. He is a co-sponsor of the landmark "Economic Opportunity Act of 2013" that expands the number of companies eligible for job growth incentives; he co-sponsored a bill which continues the law that extends the life of state permits; and he was a co-sponsor of legislation that eliminates the Sales and Use tax on software services. Assemblyman Rible issued a statement critical of a resolution that proposes an annual minimum wage hike tied to the CPI; and he conducts regular business roundtable sessions on the first Friday of every month that are open to people inside and outside his district. With regard to Superstorm Sandy, Assemblyman Rible is a passionate advocate of businesses and residents, drawing attention and tourism to the region hit by Sandy.