Our Preview section this week includes a story on "Argonautika: The Voyage of Jason and the Argonauts" at McCarter, page 28. After putting the story to bed, we noticed that on Monday, March 17, the day after the first preview, the promotional copy for the show on McCarter’s website was changed from "For ages 10 and up" to "For ages 14 and up. Mature content." On Tuesday, it was changed yet again to "Ages 14 and up. Contains mythological shenanigans and brief salty sailor talk." We haven’t seen the show and neither has our reviewer, whose review will appear in the March 26 issue. Stay tuned.

To the Editor: No to Family Leave

Today, New Jersey is faced with many challenges: overtaxing, overspending, economic uncertainty, and outward migration. Now is not the time to place another burden on the business community, which Paid Family Leave will certainly do.

S-2249 "Paid Family Leave" was introduced in October, 2006, and referred to the Senate Labor Committee. The Senate passed the bill on March 3 by a narrow margin. Its Assembly companion bill is now proceeding through the Assembly. The Mercer Regional Chamber of Commerce strongly opposes Paid Family Leave.

Leave laws that already exist recognize exceptions for small employers (50 employees or less) because of the inability of small business to cope with the extended absences of key employees as small business cannot afford the cost of paying and training replacement workers or paying coworkers overtime to share the expanded workload.

The business climate in NJ is currently not looked upon favorably by existing NJ businesses or businesses considering moving to NJ, and the increased cost associated with paid family leave will only add to an already declining business climate. This bill would make NJ only the second state in the nation to implement a mandate requiring employers to provide paid family leave, thus making NJ even less attractive to business.

The Mercer Regional Chamber of Commerce believes that S-2249 Paid Family Leave will impose undue hardship upon small business, place increased pressure on the TDI fund, and make NJ less attractive as a place to expand business or start a new business.

There is great concern that the plan to fund Paid Family Leave through the State’s Temporary Disability Insurance Plan (TDI) will increase payroll taxes and create enormous pressure upon an already pressured TDI fund.

Michele N. Siekerka, Esq.

President and CEO,

Mercer Chamber of Commerce

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