From the Record:
Two days after JPMorgan Chase said it had dropped plans to build two new office towers for $6.5 billion in midtown Manhattan, reportedly because New York City refused the company’s request for tax breaks, New Jersey’s economic development team sprang into action.
A letter from Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, Governor Christie’s jobs czar, went out to 275 financial services companies in New York and Philadelphia, touting the “benefits of investing in New Jersey.”
Listing 16 companies that have invested in the state, among them Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, and UBS, the letter asked, “What do companies like [these] know that you do not?”
Answering her own question, Guadagno cited New Jersey’s “highly educated workforce,” communications infrastructure, and “new, game-changing tax incentives aimed at attracting and growing businesses.”
The mailing included a copy of a Wall Street Journal article quoting New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio saying that the amount of incentives JPMorgan had requested from the city — which news reports put somewhere between hundreds of millions of dollars and $1 billion — was a “non-starter.” It added that on the campaign trail, de Blasio “took a strong stand against subsidies for larger corporations.” The letter helpfully provided Guadagno’s cellphone number.
The swift offensive reflected a growing belief among the New Jersey development community and state officials that the New York City mayor’s apparent reluctance to lure or keep companies with tax breaks presents a golden opportunity.
To be sure, de Blasio is operating from a position of strength. While New Jersey has recovered only half the jobs lost after the Great Recession, New York City recovered all the jobs lost by March 2012 and since added 225,000 more. And despite its sky-high rents, the financial capital of the world continues to attract top corporations.
Still, New Jersey real estate experts believe that the combination of New Jersey’s revamped and far more generous incentive programs, and de Blasio’s resistance to helping corporations with taxpayer money, could steer New York-based companies, or those looking to come there, across the Hudson River.