Battle Lines are Drawn: New Jersey’s School Funding Formula

By Maria Nieves, President & CEO

To read the news coverage of Governor Phil Murphy’s FY 2019 Budget Proposal is to know that there is widespread agreement that New Jersey’s school funding formula is not fair. There seems to be little agreement, however, on how to fix it and the battle lines have been drawn around not so much how much additional funding to allocate in this year’s budget, but how to allocate the added funding among New Jersey’s nearly 600 school districts.

Because the New Jersey School Funding Reform Act of 2008 is critical to understanding the ongoing debate with regard to Governor Murphy’s FY 2019 Budget Proposal; and to understanding the context in which a 1% employer payroll tax is proposed for Jersey City, we’ve provided a quick overview on both the NJ SFRA and the school aid funding levels proposed by Governor Murphy.Feeding America And Akron-Canton Regional Food Bank Host Hungry To Help Lesson Plan For Students At Ohio Elementary School

The Background

It’s difficult to gain a good understanding of how New Jersey distributes state school aid funding, without first considering the creation of “Abbott” school districts in 1985.  Prior to 2008, the bulk of state aid went to 31 poor school districts that were named “Abbott” districts for plaintiff Raymond Abbott, a Camden City student.  Abbott districts formed the basis for the State’s school funding model for more than 30 years and continue to have an impact on funding today.

  1. “Abbott” districts are school districts that were provided remedies to ensure their students received public education in accordance with the State constitution. They were created in 1985 as a result of the first ruling of Abbott v. Burke, a case filed by the Education Law Center. The ruling asserted that public primary and secondary education in poor communities throughout New Jersey was unconstitutionally substandard.
  2. The New Jersey Supreme Court in the Abbott II ruling of 1990 explicitly limited the Abbott programs and reforms to a class of school districts identified as “poorer urban districts” or “special needs districts.”
  3. The Abbott II ruling in 1990 had the most far-reaching effects, ordering the state to fund the (then) 28 Abbott districts at the average level of the state’s wealthiest districts. The Abbott district system was replaced in 2007 by the New Jersey Schools Development Authority.
  4. The Court in Abbott II also gave the New Jersey Legislature the authority to classify additional districts as Abbott districts based on a set of criteria. Such identification would entitle the children in those districts to Abbott programs and reforms. In 1998, the Legislature classified 3 additional districts, bringing the 2009 total of Abbott districts to 31. Since the 1990s no district has been removed from the Abbott list. For example, Hoboken remains on the list of Abbott districts.

The Abbott designation was formally eliminated in the School Funding Reform Act of 2008 (SFRA), but the designation and special aid were restored in 2011 when the New Jersey Supreme Court blocked the Christie Administration from making any aid cuts to the Abbott districts while allowing cuts to other districts. Politifact NJ reported at that time that the 31 former Abbott districts — including towns such as Hoboken and Phillipsburg — were set to receive about 60% of the Pre K-12 education aid for the 2011-12 school year. To put that in perspective, in 2011-12, the 31 districts that received 60% of State aid represented about 5% of the total 588 school districts in New Jersey. It should be noted, however, that those same 31 districts educated 20% of New Jersey’s students that year.

The School Funding Reform Act of 2008 called for the state to even out funding by giving extra aid based on student needs — such as ESL classes or special education programs — instead of the poverty or wealth of districts. Despite the Act, Governor Christie kept aid flat for most years of his administration. In Governor Christie’s final year, FY 2018, the legislature approved a budget that provided $100 million in new aid and in a deal negotiated with Senate President Steve Sweeney, sought to begin reallocating State funding. It was a first step by the State to carry out the formula required by the 2008 law.

School Funding in the FY 2019 Budget Proposal

Governor Murphy’s FY 2019 Budget Proposal includes $8.4 billion, an increase of more than $283 million, for the State’s Formula Aid and increases for 94% of New Jersey’s nearly 600 districts. Governor Murphy, who has pledged to fully fund the SFRA within the next four years, said during his inaugural budget address in March that this year’s state aid proposals represent the first year of a four-year plan to fully fund all public schools. To project out four years of similar increases, this would mean a total of slightly more than $1 billion added to the budget by FY 2022. He’s also promised to revamp the overall school aid formula but has not yet laid out a specific plan.

There are critics, however, who argue that the Governor’s proposal does not go far enough to meet the State’s obligation to fairly fund all districts and that the increases proposed this year do not nearly make up for the flat funding of past years.  Given that costs have risen, flat funding, critics argue, is negative funding.  In his blog on school aid, Jeffrey Bennet, a former member of the South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education, argues that New Jersey’s formula aid deficit is in the range of $2 billion, not $1 billion, which requires a redistribution of the $640 million that is now given out as adjustment aid, since fully funding all districts without redistribution is implausible.

The Governor’s proposal also does not continue the type of reallocation sought by legislators such as Senate President Sweeney, who last year pushed through a spending plan that reallocated funds from “overfunded” districts to “underfunded” districts. And critics say overfunded districts with shrinking enrollments would get too much money while underfunded districts with rising enrollments would get too little.  Lawmakers have hinted that they will not support a state budget that does not include two changes to school funding: a reallocation of adjustment aid and a removal of caps on districts with high growth.

The Battle Lines are Drawn

As we approach the final month of budget negotiations, a battle is brewing not so much over how much additional aid to put into the FY 2019 budget, but over how additional school aid will be allocated. In places like Hudson County, there is concern that districts such as Jersey City will see a significant reduction in State aid.  In fact, the narrative is often that municipalities like Newark and Jersey City receive a disproportionate amount of State aid.

In a recent editorial, Marcia Lyles, Superintendent of Jersey City’s Public Schools (and full disclosure, a Member of the Hudson County Chamber of Commerce), explains that in fact Jersey City schools are underfunded to the tune of $100 million. She writes:

“For the 2018-19 school year, with a projected enrollment of over 29,000, our operating fund allocation is under $415 million (a drop of $5 million). Though we have been underfunded by the state according to its formula, Jersey City has contributed the full amount required by that formula which has increased from $114 million to a projected $119 million. Meanwhile, our mandatory charter school costs increased by $11.3 million, the cost of health benefits increased by $16.8 million and with approximately the same number of employees, salaries increased by $10.7 million.”

This is the context within which we now have seen the introduction of State Senate Bill 2581, which proposes an amendment to current state law that would enable municipalities with populations of more than 200,000 to collect a tax of up to 1% on employer payrolls. Currently, state law only allows municipalities that had such a tax in place in the two-year period prior to July 1, 1995, to enact such a tax. Further, the only municipality that has such a tax in place currently in Newark.

The sole sponsor of the bill, State Senator Sandra Cunningham, has introduced the measure as a means for Jersey City to be able to make up for any potential loss of state funding, although it has been reported that there are no official projections for how much revenue this new tax would actually raise. The argument against such a payroll tax, however, once again goes to who shoulders the burden of funding a local school district. The proposed legislation could put the burden on employers with workers that do not reside in Jersey City. The legislation would make it possible for the Jersey City Council to exempt the payrolls of workers who live in the City.

The Hudson County Chamber will continue to track this issue as well as Senate Bill 2581. It’s critical to the business community for two important reasons: first and foremost is the level of investments being made in education, which is vital to preparing tomorrow’s workforce, as well as who must bear the cost ultimately.

If you’re a Member of the Hudson County or Hoboken Chamber of Commerce and you have questions or concerns about the above issues, we encourage you to let us know at


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Bottom Lining the Governor’s FY 2019 Budget Proposal

What Do You Need to Know?

By Maria Nieves, President & CEO

Get the hot dog and buns ready, Memorial Day is upon us! And the unofficial start of summer can only mean we’re deep into the budget season in New Jersey.  In what he called a “sharp break” from budgets of the administration past, Governor Murphy outlined his $34.7 billion FY 2019 budget in March: “It represents a sharp break from the direction we had been taking over the past eight years and turns our state’s trajectory to one of opportunity and fairness for all.”

His administration’s inaugural budget, and arguably his most important policy document as it lays out his long-term vision for New Jersey, it outlines a tax and spending plan that aligns with the progressive agenda Murphy won on last fall. The budget needs to be approved by June 30 with and the fiscal year beginning July 1. There’s a lot in this budget, so what do our Members need to know? We outline the top 8 items here.  

NJ State Capital#1 The Budget Proposal is $2.7 billion Larger than in Previous Year

The $34.7 billion budget proposal is an increase of $2.7 billion over Governor Christie’s budget for FY 2018. The budget proposed by Governor Murphy would use tax increases and new taxes to generate the additional revenue needed to help pay for his ambitious plan, which includes restoring the earned-income tax credit, significantly increasing funding for schools, expanding preschool and making community colleges tuition free. All-in, the Governor’s budget projects slightly more than $2 billion in additional revenue to be generated over FY 2018, which represents a 5.7 percent increase.

It may go without saying that the state’s tax revenue projections must also be accurate so as not to over-project tax receipts and thus over commit spending. That said, according to a May 21 article, there was no improved estimate of taxes to be collected in the fiscal year that begins July 1: “In a new report, Moody’s Investors Service described New Jersey’s April income tax collections, which were down 1 percent from last year, as an outlier and ‘weaker than expected’.” This means lawmakers can not rely on an unexpected windfall and will have some tough choices to make as the June 30 budget deadline approaches.

#2 Did you say increased taxes? New taxes?

Where do we start? There are a number of proposed tax increases and new taxes in the Governor’s budget that are intended to “modernize and broaden New Jersey’s tax base, ensuring fiscal stability, a fairer economy and long overdue investment in our families, students and infrastructure” (see page 21 of Budget in Brief) and which are estimated to generate an additional $110 million in revenue:

  1. Millionaire’s Tax: $765 million is projected from an increase to 10.75% in the marginal tax rate applied to income above $1 million
  2. Combined Reporting with a limited “water’s edge”: Combined reporting essential means that a corporation with affiliates in other states must report the combined revenue (or losses) of all the entities. Combined reporting can take one of two forms: worldwide, which includes income from all operations, and water’s edge, which includes only income from U.S. affiliates.
  3. Market-based sourcing: which means sourcing sales of services to the state where the customer receives the benefit. Market-based sourcing would allow New Jersey  to tax out-of-state service providers when they serve customers in New Jersey. More and more states have been moving to market-based sourcing.
  4. Reinstitution of the taxation of international holding companies
  5. One-time tax is proposed on the deemed repatriation of foreign-held assets, while further incorporating other revisions to hold New Jersey harmless for certain other provisions of the recent federal enactment
  6. Restoring the sales tax to 7.0%. You may recall that as part of a deal last year that introduced an increased gas tax to generate revenue for the Transportation Trust Fund, in return, the sales tax was reduced and is currently at 6.625%. In addition to restoring the sales tax to its previous 7.0% level, the budget proposes to include ridesharing services like Uber, transient accommodations like Airbnb, and e-cigarettes.
  7. Legalizing, regulating and taxing marijuana.

#3 Increased funding for NJ Transit and Roadway Projects

The FY 2019 budget proposal includes $2 billion for State Transportation Capital Program funding.  The program includes over $1.2 billion for state and local highway and bridge projects, and another $760 million for mass transportation projects.  Additionally, the program will be supported with $800 million in pay-as-you-go funding.

The budget also includes a General Fund appropriation of $383 million that “takes a critical first step towards addressing the chronic underfunding of the public transit system” (see page 15 of Budget in Brief). The funds will enable NJ Transit to address immediate shortfalls and hiring efforts, providing near-term relief to riders while structural improvements are implemented.  This is in addition to Governor Murphy’s Executive Order No. 5, which calls for a comprehensive review of NJ Transit’s operations and finances.

#4 Increased funding for Pre-K to 12 Education

The FY 2019 budget provides for $14.9 billion (roughly 43% of the budget) for pre-K to 12 education, an increase of nearly $933 million over the previous year budget.  This includes $8.4 billion, an increase of more than $283 million, for the State’s Formula Aid.  We delve more deeply into the current debate surrounding New Jersey’s Formula Aid in another of our blog post entitle Battle Lines are Drawn.

#5 Higher Education Funding

Direct support for higher education and student financial aid programs get a boost in the FY 2019 budget proposal with a total of $2.4 billion.  Governor Murphy proposed a $50 million investment to establish new assistance programs for recent high school graduates and adults who have yet to complete their degrees. This is projected to allow nearly 15,000 more students from families with incomes below $45,000 to attend community college tuition-free.

Additionally, funding for Tuition Aid Grants (TAG) will see an increase of $7 million for a total of $432.9 million, while the proposal increases the Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) by $1.5 million to $45.32 million (see page 10 of Budget in Brief).

#6 Increased funding for State Pensions

The budget recommends a contribution of $3.2 billion for the state’s pension system and notes, “This single-year contribution will exceed the contributions made during the entire first term of the prior administration.” (see page 19 of Budget in Brief).

#7 Hospital Funding

The Governor’s proposal maintains charity care payments to hospitals at $252 million, focusing the majority of resources to those safety net facilities that provide the greatest volume of care to the uninsured relative to their total patient group.

#8 Property Tax Relief

Nearly half of the FY 2019 budget, or nearly $17 billion, is allocated to direct and indirect property tax relief programs.  These programs include school aid, municipal aid, and direct property relief to residents.  The governor’s proposal includes increasing the State property tax deduction cap from $10,000 to $15,000.

There are numerous other changes, but we’ll leave it here for now.

If you’re a Member of the Hudson County or Hoboken Chamber of Commerce and you have questions or concerns about the proposals in Governor Murphy’s budget, we encourage you to let us know at

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May’s Featured Chamber Ambassador Keri Riccardi

Our Chamber Ambassadors are a group of dedicated Members who are passionate about Hudson County and helping the Chamber to better serve its Members.  They volunteer their time with us to engage new Members who join our growing community.

That’s right. When you join the Chamber, you join a community and you will be paired with one of our Ambassadors who will reach out to learn more about your business and your goals in joining the Chamber. They will invite you to events and may invite you to coffee or plan a visit to your office. Their goal, like ours, is to ensure you are fully taking advantage of your Membership Benefits.  Ambassadors also:

  • Raise awareness of Chamber activities and benefits
  • Serve as a mentor to first-year Chamber Members
  • Inform and involve new Chamber members to promote a strong Membership
  • Encourage meaningful and beneficial participation in the Chamber’s programs
  • Serve as a liaison between the Chamber staff and Membership

When you are contacted by your Ambassador, please be receptive and answer their email or return their call! They want to get to know you and we guarantee you’ll enjoy getting to know them.

We invite you to get to know all our Ambassadors and are pleased this month to feature Keri Riccardi:

KeriRiccardiKeri Riccardi is one of the most dynamic and prolific networkers in Northern New Jersey.  She is the co-owner of Video Marketing Group, a video production studio that produces videos for websites, blogs, and social media.

Their core clients include individual professionals, companies of all sizes, and nonprofit organizations.

Among her peers, Keri is known for her ability to strike the ideal balance of work and home life in Bergen County, where she and her husband Greg are raising their four children – three teenagers and one “tweenager”.

Keri is a very active member of several Chambers of Commerce, including Hudson County, Meadowlands Regional, Gold Coast Regional, Greater Parsippany Regional and New Jersey State Chambers. She is also active in the Bergen County Professional Women’s Network. Keri promotes and supports several nonprofits that empower women and children, such as Women Rising (Hudson County), the Women’s Rights and Information Center (Bergen County), and Beautiful Self for which she serves as a board member.

A seasoned pro at networking, Keri can not only be found traversing many area chamber and networking events, but just ask her anything like “who is a talented interior decorator I can call”, or “where is there a great Italian restaurant in this area or that”, or “Where can I find a great Yoga or Pilates instructor”, she just might pull out a card from her purse and hand it to you on the spot!

Keri presents mainly on two topics, relationship building, and the implementation of video in a strategic marketing plan.

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HarrisonRand Know-How: 6 Best Practices to Engage Your Audiences

by Jason Rand, HarrisonRand

For regional brands and businesses with limited resources in a congested and competitive landscape such as Hudson County, marketing today can be an overwhelming and often confusing subject which is made even more so by the massive changes we see in the growing and mobile forward audience moving into the region and tech innovations which offer increasingly specific targeting capabilities. The question we hear often in regard to strategy pertains to channel selection and measurement beyond clicks and traffic. The truth is, there’s not one solution that works for all organizations and their respective goals. Careful observation and analysis of performance along with data can go a long way to determining ROI to create sustainable and effective marketing plans.

2018 is proving to be another year for new and innovative ways to reach consumers and increase brand awareness. We’ve done all the research and chosen the top 6 of what we believe to be the most effective and relevant trends in Hudson County to engage your audiences and grow your business.

#1 Video Marketing


What would you read about in Jason’s next post? Email your suggestions to

It’s no secret we’re big fans of video and have been since 2010. Over the past 7 years, we’ve seen a steady rise in its popularity and from our perspective, it remains the most influential form of digital content for businesses today and if done right, can have a very positive impact on your bottom line. As our attention spans decrease, marketers are heavily relying more and more on creating video content to boost search engine rankings, increase engagement and website traffic rates.

According to a recent report, mobile video ad spend will grow 49% to roughly $18 billion in 2018, while non-mobile video ad spend is expected to fall 1.5% to $15 billion. For the first time, we can expect to see a decline of video consumption on laptops — while video views on phones and tablets is expected to grow by 25%. The average viewer is expected to watch 36 minutes of online video per day on a mobile device, as opposed to half as much — roughly 19 minutes — on a computer.

#2 Targeted Ads

We love options. Who doesn’t? It makes sense to approach digital marketing with the same mindset. Audiences already have minimal attention spans and get served so many, often irrelevant, one size fits all, ads on a daily basis, so why not offer different versions to different audiences to appeal to different tastes? For example, try switching up the creative, messaging or goals in mind. This approach will help you better understand which ads are performing best. Careful tracking and analysis provide valuable insight into your audience’s tastes and preferences to be integrated into a sustainable digital plan.

#3 Influencers


Influencer marketing is one of the newer entrants onto the list and one of the fastest growing.

Typically, influencers have been celebrities who are compensated to promote products and services to their social media followers. When it comes to social influencing, to be considered a celebrity, one has to have over 1 million followers. People with 500k–1 million followers and 100k–500k followers fall into the macro influencer and middle influencer categories, respectively. Micro influencers are generally average folks who have between 1k–100k followers and innovative regional brands are connecting with these individuals because they’re more relatable and relevant to the community.

Studies today suggest that 82% of consumers are highly likely to explore a recommendation made by a micro-influencer.


#4 Generation Z 

Entrepreneurial, tech-savvy, driven by cause and mobile-minded, Generation Z also known as the iGeneration, Post-Millennials, or the Homeland Generation are people who were born in the late 1990s to mid-2000s. Building relationships with this new market can have a profound long-term impact on your business as they prepare to enter the workforce and become more active consumers. Appeal to their global outlook, desire to change the world and sense of edge and you have the potential to connect with an influential audience.

#5 LinkedIn

LinkedIn, often overlooked in the sexy world of the newer platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, continues to offer a high quality and evolving channel for B2B marketers.  This strategy pertains to a large and growing sector of Hudson County and deserves a dedicated approach.

Over 90% of B2B marketers say LinkedIn is the most effective platform for lead generation. If you’re in the market for new customers, LinkedIn should be the first place to look in 2018. Connecting with a potential client on LinkedIn increases the chances of them buying from you by 50%.

#6 Interactivity

Over the past year, we’ve had a lot of fun exploring interactive e-marketing and planning. Email marketing offers a low or no cost, trackable, scalable channel that’s yours to grow, so why not explore how to engage your audiences with new and different content? It’s time to take a serious look at email, if you’ve been sending the same emails repeatedly, you can’t expect to get different results. Interactive emails will improve engagement with your subscribers and provide a wide spectrum of analytics which you can build on. Why not try enhancing your plan with strong design and minimal copy, compelling calls to action, real-time surveys, videos or animation?

As we end the first half of 2018, it’s clear that new approaches are required to stay competitive as the pace of life increases due to the abundance of technological innovations and maturing of digital marketing. These are just some of the ideas and trends driving engagement today, but the only way to know if they’re right for the mix is often to just do it and pay close attention to what happens next!

Good luck!

Anything, in particular, you’d like us to write about? We want to hear from you! Email your suggestions to

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What exactly is a Chamber of Commerce?

M_Nieves_1By Maria Nieves, President & CEO

The staff and I here at the Hudson County Chamber of Commerce get asked so many varied questions about the nature of the chamber, that I thought it might be helpful to take time to answer some of the more basic questions about this very “sexy” topic of what we do and who we are. Here are the top seven questions we often get asked about our Chamber and our answers!


The former headquarters of the New York Chamber of Commerce at 65 Liberty Street in NYC. Founded in 1768, the New York Chamber was the first chamber formed in the United States. It no longer exists as it merged with another organization to form the Partnership for New York (which ironically, is not a chamber!)

#1: What exactly is a Chamber of Commerce?

Let’s start with the most basic question of all. According to my good friend Wikipedia, a chamber of commerce “is a form of business network…a local organization of businesses whose goal is to further the interests of businesses. Business owners in towns and cities form these local societies to advocate on behalf of the business community. Local businesses are members, and they elect a board of directors or executive council to set policy for the chamber. The board or council then hires a President & CEO or Executive Director, plus staffing appropriate to its size, to run the organization.”

To put it simply, the Hudson County Chamber–and for that matter, so too the Hoboken Chamber of Commerce–is an organization made up of businesses that want to further the interest of the business community here in the county.  It is, frankly, a self-serving organization as we look out for the interests first and foremost of our members. That said, we are here to build a community that attracts residents, visitors, and investors; ensure future prosperity via a pro-business climate; represent the unified voice of the employer community.

#2: Is the Hudson Chamber part of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce?

According to the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, there are approximately 3,000 chambers in the United States. That means there are 50 chambers on average in each state!  And each chamber is its own independently operated organization. That is, we are not a chapter of either the U.S. Chamber of Commerce or the New Jersey Chamber.  That said, we do have a partnership that we are formalizing with the Hoboken Chamber of Commerce, which will make them a chapter of the Hudson Chamber. That arrangement, however, is not typical. In this case, we do believe that formally partnering will add great value to the two organizations and enable both to better serve our members in the county.

#3: Is the Hudson County Chamber of Commerce a charity?

The Hudson County Chamber is a nonprofit organization.  We were formed in 1888 as the Jersey City Chamber of Commerce (our name changed in 1979 to Hudson County Chamber) by local business leaders to serve the interests of our members and as a nonprofit, any revenue generated is invested back into the organization so that we can continue to serve our mission: The Hudson County Chamber of Commerce is the leading resource for driving economic growth—providing education, advocacy and access to our members within and throughout each community in Hudson County.

We are also a tax-exempt organization; designated as a 501(c)6 organization by the Internal Revenue Service. While we are a nonprofit and tax-exempt, we are not a charitable organization, which seeks to serve the public good and is commonly designated as a 501(c)3 by the IRS.

#4: What do you really do for a living?

Sometimes I am asked a really interesting question, what do I really do for a job? This question assumes that all chambers are completely volunteer-driven. Being President & CEO of the Hudson County Chamber, however, is my real job. My real, full-time, paid job.

I don’t know how many of the roughly 3,000 chambers in the United States are able to support full-time staff, but there are many of them that can and some of them are very large organizations with staffs numbering in the hundreds. Think about states like California, which is the largest state in the union, and thus has a very large state chamber.  In fact, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is one of the largest nonprofits in the nation and, I believe, the entire world.  Here in Hudson County, we are fortunate to have more than 625 Members that pay annual membership investments and that also support us through advertising, sponsorship and event fees.  As a result, we are able to currently have 3 full-time staff and 2 part-time staff to support our mission.  We all feel incredibly fortunate to represent one of the most dynamic business communities in New Jersey.

#5: Is the Chamber a government organization?

The Hudson County Chamber is formed and supported by our Members. We are not funded by local, county, state or federal agencies and are not a part of any government agency.  While on occasion a public agency may choose to join the Chamber and support our mission, the vast majority of our Members are private sector for-profit and nonprofit businesses.  And our Members support us primarily through annual membership investments.  We also raise additional funding through fundraising events like our Legends gala and our golf outing, by providing fee-based services, and advertising opportunities. While we may have various ways to raise funds, our funding is derived primarily from our Members and as a result, our funding is inherently incredibly diversified.

#6: What does the Chamber do?

The Chamber is a critical part of the ecosystem here in Hudson County. Our mission is to be the leading resource for business in Hudson County and to that end, we offer numerous programs and services to assist the business community–from educational and networking events to services that help our Members generate sales leads and promote their business in the region. We also help to convene the business community around issues that we believe they need to be informed of–whether it is local development and trends or legislative issues.

We also are a leading proponent for doing business in Hudson County. Whether it’s educating our Members about the benefits of shopping local, publishing the one and only printed guide to the community and business directory, or advocating for pro-business policies.

#7: Why should I join the Chamber?

That’s a great question, but I have a better one. Given what you’ve just learned about what the Chamber does and why we do it (see questions #1 – #6 above), why wouldn’t you join the Chamber and be a part of supporting local business?

If you’re doing business here in Hudson County, why wouldn’t you join? And if not this Chamber, then join a chamber. Perhaps the one in your local area. Get involved and support your peers in the business community who are trying to make the region a great place to live and work and play. Given that joining for most businesses costs just pennies/day, it’s well worth the investment!

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Hudson County Consortium Launches Suite of Education Offerings

Hudson Chamber Partners with Local Organizations to Better Serve County Businesses

Consortium_Logo_version2JERSEY CITY, N.J…. The Hudson County Consortium for Business Growth and Development has been newly formed by five county organizations dedicated to building the capacity of local area businesses. The Hudson County Consortium intends to support business growth and development through the design, plan and coordinated delivery of educational programs to better serve entrepreneurs, start-ups, early stage and mature businesses.

The Consortium, which will provide access to educational programs throughout Hudson County, is comprised of the following founding partners: Hudson County Chamber of Commerce; Hudson County Community College, Center for Business and Industry; Hudson County Economic Development Corporation; the Hudson County Office of Business Opportunity; and NJ Small Business Development Center at New Jersey City University.  The Consortium also intends to support the Hudson County Office of Business Opportunity in its efforts to assist businesses in becoming eligible for certifications and in gaining access to procurement opportunities at the county, state and federal levels and in the private sector.

“The Chamber is excited to partner with organizations that have a proven track record of delivering excellent educational programming for area businesses and entrepreneurs,” said Maria Nieves, President & CEO of the Hudson County Chamber. “This partnership enables us to be true to our mission to provide our Member’s with access to the best resources in the community, assist them in becoming certified, and at the same time, support the good work of our partners.”

The Hudson County Consortium’s first initiative is the launch of spring educational programs that include classes in basic financial management, accounting fundamentals, QuickBooks, and Excel for business and finance professionals. Spring classes began in March and will continue through June and are open to the public. Information about class offerings, dates, and locations, as well as how to register is available at

Founded in 1888, the Hudson County Chamber of Commerce is one of New Jersey’s oldest and largest regional chambers of commerce. The organization serves more than 625 members and is celebrating its 130th anniversary year. For information about the Hudson County Chamber, please call (201) 386-0699 x 220 or visit

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Keeping Hoboken Vital

Hoboken_Chamber_Logo-HighResThe Hoboken Chamber of Commerce has published Keeping Hoboken Vital: White Paper Outlining Issues and Opportunities for the Business Community which makes nearly 20 recommendations for how to improve the overall business climate in Hoboken, streamline the City’s development approval and permitting process, rationalize parking strategies, boost tourism, improve the transportation system, and provide a more comprehensive and predictable framework for development.  The paper urges the City of Hoboken to undertake an inclusive master plan outreach process with the business community as a meaningful stakeholder.

Front Page of Report

The Hoboken Chamber, realizing both the opportunities and the challenges of doing business in Hoboken commissioned the white paper to study how to improve business conditions and make recommendations. The Chamber retained Phillips Preiss Grygiel LLC to prepare the white paper, which also sets out recommendations for Hoboken’s Master Plan examination.  The white paper offers guidance to the community and elected officials on how the city’s code, regulations and offices can be modernized in such a way to promote growth, vibrancy and ease of use for the whole of the Hoboken business community.

“The white paper represents the culmination of a comprehensive process between Paul Grygiel, the Hoboken Chamber Board, chamber membership, as well as members of the business community.  Significant though it is, the white paper is just a first step in what the Chamber hopes is a collaborative journey between the business community, elected and appointed officials, and the whole of Hoboken, leading to a vibrant, bustling and accommodating business climate. When Hoboken’s business community prospers and thrives the whole of Hoboken shines brighter,” said Richard Mackiewicz, President of the Hoboken Chamber Board.

Mr. Paul Grygiel of Phillips Preiss Grygiel LLC spearheaded the project for the firm.  He specializes in comprehensive and neighborhood planning, zoning analysis and expert witness testimony, and has prepared master plans and redevelopment plans for numerous municipalities. Mr. Grygiel worked with the Chamber to gather input for the white paper which included Chamber roundtable meetings with its members as well as the public, a meeting with the Chamber’s Board of Directors and a survey of the business community.

Keeping Hoboken Vital is available online and will be distributed to members of the Hoboken Chamber, members of the business and elected and public officials during the month of February and promoted through the Hoboken Chamber Facebook page.

The Hoboken Chamber of Commerce represents nearly 200 members, facilitates forums with local, officials, and provides a platform for business networking and partnerships.


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