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Text of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's veto of Buy America provisions

Published by Brad Fougere on February 11, 2015

Report: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie vetoed NJ S1811, New Jersey’s Buy American bill, on 5 Feb 2015 (See Governor Christie’s statement below). The Governor’s statement on the bill made clear his opposition to protectionism and to policy which could serve as a deterrent to international investment. The bill, in its current form, cannot be re-introduced in the state legislature.

 

SENATE COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE FOR SENATE BILL NO. 1811

(Second Reprint) 

To the Senate:

Pursuant to Article V, Section I, Paragraph 14 of the New Jersey Constitution, I am returning Senate Committee Substitute for Senate Bill No. 1811 (Second Reprint) without my approval.

This bill, along with Senate Bill Nos. 2045, 2048, 2061, and 2062, would require that State and bi-State contracting entities give preference to American companies when procuring materials, goods, and finished products to be used for State and bi-State projects. I believe in the need to support American companies as they endeavor to compete in an ever-changing global marketplace. That is why current law requires public work to be

sourced, whenever practical, from American suppliers. The present bills, however, constrain purchasing decisions by setting artificial thresholds of reasonableness based almost exclusively on price. Subject to few exceptions, any goods or materials sourced for any State contract would have to be made in the United States.

My administration has worked hard to support the expansion of New Jersey’s domestic industry, while continuing to pursue new international partners that bring jobs to our State. Recent reports note that foreign-headquartered companies are responsible for over 225,000 New Jersey jobs. These global companies seek global marketplaces that will support their investments. Those companies, in turn, infuse billions of dollars into New Jersey’s economy, not only in direct investment and jobs, but indirectly to thousands of other New Jersey businesses that provide goods and services to support their operations.  In stark contrast, these bills will chill international development and increase costs borne by taxpayers. The bidding process will become more complex and reporting requirements will become more burdensome. Rather than helping Americans, these bills will simply drive up the price of doing business, and threaten job creation.

Building economic walls around our State, or our Nation, will not improve the lives of our citizens. Serious and lasting improvements to our economy require policies based on sound economics, and an understanding of global investment in the twenty-first century. The temptation to retreat to isolationism and fear will always be powerful. Our State, like our Nation, will always be strongest when we embrace the opportunity to export our ideas, and our values, while we welcome the best new concepts from around the world. It is American exceptionalism that continues to drive investors, and investments, to our shores. New Jersey will lead that tradition forward.

Accordingly, I am returning Senate Committee Substitute for Senate Bill No. 1811 (Second Reprint) without my approval.

Respectfully,

Chris Christie

Governor

 

Attest:

Christopher S. Porrino

Chief Counsel to the Governor

Found in: Buy America

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