Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, who plays a key role in economic development in the Gov. Chris Christie administration, offered a recap of the kinds of help the state can give to companies looking to expand or relocate here in a meeting with a group of business executives this morning.
Guadagno said when it comes to convincing New Jersey businesses to remain and expand here, her team has had victories — like Panasonic and Honeywell — and losses, like Roche and Hertz. She said her staff works hard to keep firms here, and called on businesses to alert her when companies are thinking of leaving.
"We try so hard to get to 'yes' on every level," Guadagno said at a meeting of the New Jersey chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth at the Hilton, in Woodbridge. As she often does, she gave out her cellphone number, and urged business people to call if they encounter obstacles to their success in New Jersey.
"Give me a shot — let me know if you are having a tough time, and if we can fix it, we will," she said.
Guadagno said the state Economic Development Authority has incentives packages for businesses of all sizes. Asked about small-business incentives, she said there are about 10 different programs to help small firms, not including special programs created in response to Sandy. For businesses recovering from Sandy, she said the state has a number of programs, including working capital grants and loan programs.
Another questioner said the state's 8.97 percent top income tax rate continues to motivate owners of large, private businesses to move out. Guadagno said New Jersey "will never be the lowest-tax state," but it can strive to be competitive: "We have the talent in New Jersey to make it cost effective for you to keep your business here."