Business Development, Infrastructure and Tax Policy in NJ
Steve Adubato sits down with Regina Egea, President, Garden State Initiative, to discuss business development, infrastructure, and tax policy in New Jersey.
"State of Affairs welcomes Regina Egea, who's president of Garden State Initiative. Good to see you. Thanks for having me, Steve. Tell everyone what Garden State Initiative is? Sure. It's a non-profit think tank focused on public policies and economic matters here in the state. Let's get to economic matters… one of the things that strikes me about what you've put out and your colleagues, is that New Jersey's gross domestic product compared to Delaware, New York and Pennsylvania… We're behind? Go ahead. Yeah, I mean United States… How far? Well we are half of New York, and almost half of the U.S. So U.S. is growing at 3.1%? We were 1.8. Tied for dead last, Because? Well because we aren't, you know, really putting policies in place that'll encourage more investment from businesses and grow jobs and grow values here in the state. Governor Murphy is out, as we actually do this program, I believe he's in India… part of a trade mission. Going out there… I mean, he's out there promoting the state. Does it take more than that? Of course it does, right? We have to have economic environment as well as a regulatory environment that will be attractive to businesses because you know one of the things we all have to accept is we're in a dog fight right now, right?For both jobs and residents against the other states and we have to be much more attractive than we are versus our near neighbors. What make us less attractive? In the view of your organization? Well certainly the tax burden. Right, we are at the bottom… We're dead bottom decile of every list of cost of running a business, the cost of living, property taxes, you name it . So the quest to operate here is just, you know, falling behind, really, other states. So, it's not... Are you saying, Regina, that's not good enough to say “New Jersey, dot dot dot… open for business?” That slogan just doesn't work? Well no... right? Because I mean, as I said, without the policies… Yeah, exactly. As you see them. Exactly. I mean, the other states around us, right? look at the income tax rate in Pennsylvania, right? 3.3%. Ours is? Ours is 8.97. The Governor says we should raise taxes. By the way, we will get the Governor. The Governor says we need to raise taxes on millionaires in order to fund public schools, public employee pension crisis… other state services. You say? Right there are a lot of things that we should be investing in. But we should be growing the economy to enable that investment, not continually drawing down on the current incomes that people have. And you know, New York, right? Their corporate tax rate is 6%. We just raised ours. Right? We have a surcharge on businesses now; 11.5%. By the way, what is..."