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Why it stayed: Panasonic's decision was about more than tax incentives

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The new Panasonic building in Newark certainly has a room with a view.
The new Panasonic building in Newark certainly has a room with a view. - ()

Even in the case of Panasonic, which received a well-documented $102.4 million tax credit in 2011 to relocate its North American headquarters to Newark from Secaucus, incentives aren't always enough to keep a company in New Jersey.

And this is from a company that stayed.

Last year, Panasonic settled into its downtown location at Two Riverfront Plaza, a short walk from Newark Penn Station.

The convenience of having direct access to New York City and its talent pool was a selling point in itself, says Mike Riccio, chief financial officer and treasurer for Panasonic Corp. of North America.

“I couldn’t think of a better location,” Riccio says.

With roughly 1,000 employees in Secaucus at the time of the move, the company would have really needed a good reason to leave the state, Riccio said, because a move of great distance could have been proven to be “disruptive.”

RELATED: New Jersey has educated workers, quality transportation options, and, of course, those big-ticket tax incentives, so … why are they leaving?

In addition to that, Riccio said the Garden State has just always felt like home for the company.

“We’ve been in New Jersey for quite a long time and we’ve developed a lot of roots here, so to speak,” Riccio said.

Being a part of Newark’s revitalization and reducing the company’s carbon footprint were also factors in the decision, Riccio said.

New Jersey certainly is a high-cost state and carries the stigma that it “may not be as pro-business as others,” but when all factors are put into perspective, Riccio said it “does offer a lot.”

“It depends what you’re looking for,” Riccio said. “If you’re looking for a low-cost operation and you don’t need specific types of talent, maybe then New Jersey isn’t the place for you. But (with) the type of talent pool that you want, I think New Jersey … you really have to give it a second look.”

And then there were those incentives, again.

“That was kind of the icing on the cake,” Riccio said.

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Andrew George

Andrew George

Andrew George covers the Statehouse from NJBIZ's Trenton bureau. Born and raised in N.J., Andrew has also spent time as a reporter in D.C., Texas and Pa. His email is andrewg@njbiz.com and he is @AndrGeorge on Twitter.

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Term75 August 11, 2014 9:54 am

I was a complete WIN / WIN for Panasonic. First the INCENTIVES - Big Win! Next the employees that worked in Secaucus would now have to somehow commute to Newark (probably driving). Unfortunately for them, unlike Secaucus, there is no company provided parking. So now they have to pay. This can amount to $350 to $400 per month. (Hey, you just got a pay cut!). The next disadvantage to the employees that move from Secaucus is the safety of the employees themselves and their property (cars) in NEWARK! You have to admit that Newark does not have a stellar reputation for law and order. So the SECOND WIN for Panasonic is that many of the older established employees will drop out and NOT move to Newark. Great for Panasonic. Now they can replace them at a reduced pay grade AND they can hire from the Newark work pool. Panasonic looks like a hero.
I suggest that before you write a stupid article like this you actually do some research. This move disrupted lives and good loyal employees just so Joe Taylor and Corey Booker can look like heroes.

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