#b#Report of Death Highly Exaggerated#/b#

I am alive. Referencing me as “the late founder” of the U.S.1 Writers’ Cooperative (U.S. 1, April 3) was flattering (I now share the distinction of such a report with a number of people, such as Mark Twain). Thanks.

On the other hand, I would hope you could prominently correct the error as I am still actively working and would not like to lose contacts with friends and colleagues, etc.

Rod Tulloss

Now living in Roosevelt, New Jersey, Tulloss is one of two world specialists in the Amanitaceae mushroom family. The former Bell Lab fellow performs research, provides workshops, maintains a fungal museum, and develops collaborative relationships to further the study of this field of fungi. For more information visit www.amanitaceae.org

#b#Funds Must Flow For Shore Relief#/b#

We cheered when Congress approved $60.4 billion in emergency spending to help New Jersey and its neighbors recover from Superstorm Sandy. But the story of recovery is just beginning. Now that the cash has begun flowing into New Jersey, we must ensure the money gets it into the hands of those who need it the most and in a way that helps all of them — and New Jersey — emerge from the storm of the century and the Great recession.

This opportunity must not be squandered. Grants, first and foremost, must go to residents and businesses that were directly struck by the storm so they can rebuild. This will generate jobs and a boost for our economy. Roughly $25 billion is expected to be invested in construction alone in New Jersey through 2015, according to a report by the Rutgers University’s Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy.

The aid, meanwhile, will help get Jersey Shore merchants open for business by Memorial Day. Meeting this deadline is important symbolically, and it is critical to our state’s $40 billion per year tourism industry. To support our shore businesses, the state needs to quickly roll out the proposed $25 million marketing campaign to make sure everyone knows the Jersey Shore is open for business this summer.

Funds must also go to help municipalities whose property tax bases were decimated by Sandy.

And a sensible plan must be devised to develop smart building codes and flood maps that make rebuilding fair and affordable.

To accommodate this, it is important for Democrats and Republicans to get on the same page — even in a gubernatorial election year.

We know they can do it. Before the storm and the presidential election, our Republican governor and Democratic-controlled Legislature worked together to pass landmark legislation that began to restore New Jersey’s economic vitality — pension and health benefit reform, teacher tenure reform, and property tax reform. And we were beginning to see results. New Jersey gained 66,400 jobs (59,100 in the private sector) in 2012, the state’s highest annual job gain in more than a decade.

Our government relations team here at the Chamber remains busy monitoring the rebuilding activities and pushing for the pro-growth initiatives we need to regain our economic momentum. These include the continued phase-in of business tax reforms, such as establishing a net operating loss carry-forward for small businesses and a fairer formula for calculating Corporation Business Tax liability.

These initiatives are contained in Governor Christie’s proposed budget and are geared toward strengthening the economy and growing jobs. Ultimately, restoring New Jersey is a collective effort that will require judicious use of relief funding and the continued passage of pro-growth policies.

There’s an easy way you can help New Jersey — think New Jersey business first. If you need a product or service, buy from or hire a New Jersey company. We can certainly recommend most any kind of company you need from our roster of members.

Another thing you can do — take a trip to the Jersey Shore to support the businesses that line our 130 miles of white sandy beaches.

Governor Christie spoke for many of us when he said in his budget address, “I expect to go to the Jersey Shore every summer for the rest of my life, including the summer of 2013.”

We have a unique opportunity to achieve a positive outcome from the catastrophic impact of Superstorm Sandy. There can be no better message sent by our state than an expeditious recovery. Let’s show the rest of the country what New Jersey is all about.

Thomas A. Bracken

Bracken is the president and CEO of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce. www.njchamber.com.

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