On the drive home from work last week, I heard a new radio advertisement where New Jersey governor Chris Christie appealed to Illinois businesses to take advantage of New Jersey’s business-friendly climate. The typical appeal was made: possible tax breaks or incentives, proximity to New York City and other notable cities, and an able work force await in New Jersey. Hear the ad here. (And New Jersey is not the first state to make an appeal in Illinois since Illinois raised its personal income and business tax rates.)
On the question of whether such radio advertisements actually do draw businesses to another state: I would guess that the success rate is low. In fact, perhaps the main goal is not to attract businesses from Illinois but rather to alert New Jersey residents that the state government is doing all it can to attract businesses and jobs and that it has a good business climate compared to other states. States have certain options by which they can attract jobs or make direct appeals to businesses and an opportunity like this, where a state notably raises taxes, presents an opportunity to make a comparison.
A few other pieces of information would be helpful in interpreting this advertisement:
1. How exactly does New Jersey’s business climate compare to Illinois in areas like the tax rate, labor force, etc.? How many businesses have moved back or forth in recent years?
2. Is Christie’s ad politically motivated? Here is a chance for a Republican governor to tweak a Democratic state.