New Jersey Defense Enhancement Coalition

Jim Saxton, former U.S. representative for New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District, is concerned about the future of the Joint Base, McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. Speaking for his group, the New Jersey Defense Enhancement Coalition (NJDEC), Jim made the case for keeping the Joint Base operational in the face of likely efforts to reduce its role or close it entirely. That could happen, he explained, since Defense Secretary Hagel announced plans to dramatically reduce the U.S. military budget. Closing was attempted a number of times between 1989 and 2005, Jim explained, but this time could be different. That’s because the Pentagon, which has long supported base closings, may take a new approach. Rather than revive the Base Realignment and Closing commission that made recommendations in the past, the Pentagon might use an element of law that would allow it to simply announce base closings on its own. Rather than approve a list of bases to be closed, it would then be up to Congress to stop particular closings.

Jim highlighted the economic impact of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst on the entire central New Jersey economy. The base, he said, is one of the largest employers in New Jersey with 40,645 people. In addition, the Joint Base is indirectly responsible for another 65,000 jobs in Ocean, Burlington, and Monmouth Counties. Beyond that, the base and its payrolls generate $118.7 million in state tax revenue and $119.7 million in local taxes. Even a reduction in its mission would have an large impact on the entire state, but especially on Ocean, Burlington, and Monmouth Counties. Jim recommended that the mayors stay informed, contact state and U.S. legislators, and help support the group fighting to save the base, the New Jersey Defense Enhancement Coalition.

The Ocean County Mayors’ Association has been found tax exempt by the IRS. Donations are deductible. Documentation of this determination and related financial disclosure documents are available for public examination. The Ocean County Mayors’ Association has been found tax exempt by the IRS. Donations are deductible. Documentation of this determination and related financial disclosure documents are available for public examination.

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