By Assembly members Connie Wagner and Timothy Eustace
TRENTON – Protecting jobs for New Jersey is one of our top priorities. That’s why we’ve introduced legislation that would require any employer relocating a call center from the state to a foreign country to notify the state and remit the unused value of any state grant, guaranteed loan, tax benefit and any other financial support they’ve received.
Jobs are being lost and customer service jeopardized as companies move their call centers overseas. Companies that choose to invest elsewhere should not be able to benefit from financial resources from the state. That help should be limited to those who contribute to our economy and create sustainable jobs for New Jersey residents.
With an unemployment rate still hovering around 9 percent, we need to protect New Jersey jobs. We need to ensure New Jersey taxpayers aren’t providing their hard-earned tax dollars in the form of grants, incentives, or loan guarantees to companies that are taking money out of our state economy, not to mention compromising customer service. Our recovery is lagging behind the rest of the country and we should be using N.J. tax dollars to save middle class jobs, not giving companies money to send these jobs to foreign countries.
As our jobs are shipped to other countries so is our vital and personal information. Cyber security in the digital age represents another important factor when discussing outsourcing. A 2005 study found that 83% of Indian outsourcing companies had security breaches. With identity theft affecting thousands of Americans each year we should be requiring more of companies handling our private data.
While our “leaders” in Washington continue to bicker over every piece of legislation that crosses their desk, this issue should be a no-brainer for them. The bill was passed through the N.J. Assembly on a bi-partisan basis and has members from both parties sponsoring similar legislation in the House of Representatives: Reps. Lobiondo, Holt and Rothman.
While the federal government is locked in a never-ending battle of partisan politics, it is up to State Legislatures across the country to act to keep Americans working. Other states are heeding the call to help our citizens keep decent-paying jobs by withholding incentives from outsourcers. Recently the Florida State Senate passed a bill which can be viewed as even more stringent than ours here in New Jersey. In the west, Arizona’s legislators are also pushing a bill to ensure call centers are not sent overseas.
Some companies may think of this as anti-business or as a penalty for being a global business. We see it as an incentive to keep your business here, keep your jobs here, and keep our vital information here. Companies will continue to receive grants and loan guarantees from the State. We want to help our businesses grow and keep New Jersey competitive with other states and countries.
To be competitive we should be promoting and advocating for local businesses that keep jobs here and employ New Jersey residents. By incentivizing business to keep jobs here we can make New Jersey more affordable for residents and keep our tax dollars hard at work in our great state.
-Assemblywoman Connie Wagner, (D-38), Paramus, and Assemblyman Timothy Eustace, (D-38), Paramus