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The following presentations and study were key ingredients to the breakout sessions at the Affordability Summit on September 18. As a result of the breakout sessions, Opportunity New Jersey leadership crafted an Affordability Agenda.

Taxes, Pensions and Affordability (Power Point Download)
By Tom Byrne
Managing Partner, Byrne Asset Management llc

2017 New Jersey: A Status Report (Power Point Download)
By Jim Hughes Ph.D.
Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy

Reseeding growth in the Garden State
By Tyler Duvall, Mike Kerlin, Paula Ramos, Zachary Surak, and Steve Van Kuiken

The Affordability Agenda was crafted with input from attendees at the September 18 Affordability Summit. This Agenda was pulled from a larger document that will also serve as an overarching solutions document. Even though the Summit has concluded, we are still accepting suggestions, edits and additions to this draft document. Please click here to be part of the solution.

Based on the data and input presented at the Summit, Opportunity NJ is outlining four major initiatives in its white paper for which a state strategic plan should be devised.


 Introducing Carmen – an entrepreneur seeking to build and grow his business in New Jersey. Bucco has used his own money and lines of credit to fund his mobile tailoring boutique. He has also grown with additions of franchisees to carry the Bucco Couture label throughout the region. However, taxes and the regulatory environment have impeded Mr. Bucco’s plans to expand his business and, frankly, hire a diverse workforce. In this case study, we will learn how Carmen began his business, his successes, plans and the need to make New Jersey affordable for innovative residents and businesses.


Introducing Michael – a corporate executive turned entrepreneur. He brings a unique perspective on managing a business and living in New Jersey. For the past six years, he has been building his client base and maintaining sustainable levels of profitability. His company, Big Green Group (located in Chester, Morris County, NJ), specializes in wireless services, broadband construction services, enterprise & government solutions, and HVAC services. In this case study, we will learn about challenges posed by taxes, the regulatory environment and how those challenges impact his decision-making. Additionally, Michael opens-up regarding the challenges of African-American, women, and minority-owned businesses.


Meet Amy – a woman business owner who took great pride in being engaged in every facet of her restaurant, the Milford Oyster House (located in Milford, Hunterdon County, NJ). Amy and her staff ensured every dish was meticulously and lovingly prepared for each guest. Amy wanted her guests to feel as if they received a “warm culinary hug” after a dining experience in her establishment. In recent years, she recognized the difficulty of complying with onerous regulations and providing an economic engine for her community. After twenty years, Amy decided to reluctantly sell her livelihood to new owners due to the inhospitable business climate in the Garden State. In this series, we will get to know Amy and her challenges, both practical and emotional, as a small business owner. Most importantly, we will address New Jersey’s most pressing public policy issues and generate solutions to make New Jersey affordable.