ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY CHIEF URGES LOCAL BUSINESSES TO REMAIN POSITIVE
By Bridget Clerkin/Trenton Times
November 14, 2011
What’s the best way local business leaders can help New Jersey? By becoming the state’s biggest cheerleaders, according to Caren Franzini, CEO of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.
“If we all in the business community don’t think positively about our state, things will never change,” she said. “I want you all to be our biggest cheerleaders. It’s all about the attitude.”
Franzini spoke about “Making New Jersey a Home of Growth” in a presentation to the Mercer Regional Chamber of Commerce at a luncheon at the Stone Terrace last week.
Saying New Jersey has had a bad reputation for business in the past, Franzini explained how she and her colleagues at the EDA, along with the governor and lieutenant governor, have been working to change that by enacting laws to make the corporate business tax less burdensome to in-state facilities, altering the small-business tax to allow business owners to utilize losses from other businesses they own, and capping the property tax to keep that expense for businesses “under control.”
Curbing regulation through the governor’s new Red Tape Commission and participating in “aggressive outreach” — an attempt to draw businesses from other states into the area — were other ways the state has been working to improve its business reputation, she said.
Franzini’s presentation focused on the many incentive programs offered by the EDA and other organizations to retain jobs in New Jersey.
For example, Church & Dwight, the parent company of Arm & Hammer, was pulled back from nearly leaving the state by a $13 million business retention grant awarded in September. The grant kept the $2.6 billion company and its 1,000 employees in the state, Franzini said.
She also called attention to the recent groundbreaking ceremony for Danish company Novo Nordisk, which will occupy the old Merrill Lynch building in Plainsboro and create nearly 1,000 staff jobs for the company as well as 500 union construction jobs.
It’s the job of local business leaders to tell everyone they know about the changes going on in the state, Franzini said.
“The business climate has changed for the positive in New Jersey,” she said. “Please tell your friends and family about it. Help us be our own salespeople, to encourage business in the state of New Jersey.”