Acting Gov. Kim Guadagno defended the state against a poor business-climate ranking and said the economy would benefit from a combination of existing business tax cuts and an additional income tax cut.
Guadagno dismissed the drop — from 30th to 41st place — in a business climate ranking by financial news network CNBC. Guadagno said the network wouldn't answer a request by her staff for the information, or "matrix," used to determine the ranking.
"If you're not going to tell me this, I'm not going to respond," said Guadagno, who applied the phrase "garbage in, garbage out" to the ranking.
Guadagno pointed to more than 80,000 private-sector jobs created in the state since early 2010.
"You can't cross-examine the numbers," said Guadagno, a former prosecutor. She also noted improvement in the recent C-suite survey of New Jersey business executives, as well as an improvement in Business Facilities magazine's ranking of the state.
The response was criticized by Senate Democratic Budget Officer Paul A. Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge).
"This is more evidence that the (Chris) Christie administration's economic agenda is failing to do the job, and their self-promoting storyline of a turnaround is not real for the business community or for the people of New Jersey," Sarlo said in a statement.
Guadagno also said that the business tax cuts enacted over the past year have helped retain companies and increase jobs in the state, including the decision by Arm & Hammer maker Church & Dwight. She said the next phase in lowering business expenses would be to lower the state income tax.
Guadagno made the remarks at a press conference at which she signed a bill mandating vehicles transporting developmentally disabled residents use their lights to caution other drivers, and that other drivers stop. Guadagno, who oversees economic development efforts in the state, is serving as acting governor while Christie is traveling outside of the state.