For years, New Jersey and its residents have been the brunt of late-night TV jokes.
Despite that, the majority of New Jersey’s politicians have never seemed to understand (or care) that high taxes and onerous regulations are anathema to keeping jobs.
Now, even though a moderate Republican sits in the governor’s chair–following two liberal Democrats before him–this proven to be of no help to New Jersey in keeping another 1,000 jobs from leaving the state.
According to the New York Times, Mercedes-Benz USA announced on Tuesday that it would move its headquarters to Georgia from the “Garden State.”
“Mercedes USA made one thing very clear about its decision to leave — the cost of doing business and the tax environment is just too high here to be competitive with a state like Georgia,” said Michael Drewniak, a spokesman for Gov. Chris Christie.
This should not come as a surprise for New Jerseyans. After all, New Jersey has been leading the states with the greatest number of people (and companies) fleeing for four of the last five years.
New Jersey had the greatest percentage of outbound moves of any state nationally last year with almost 65 percent departing, according to a company which bills itself as the largest transporter of household goods in the country.
The Garden State has led the nation in outward migration for the fourth time in five years.
An exodus of New Jersey really shouldn’t surpise anyone–especially as, for years, it’s consistently been viewed as “anti-business” by those who run businesses.
In 2013, for example, New Jersey ranked near the bottom (#46 out of 50) of “best” states to do business, according to Chief Exectuive Magazine.
In 2014, the state fell even further to #47—only surpassed by Illinois, New York and California, respectively, as being even worse places to do business.
For years, New Jersey had relied on the pharmaceutical industry. However, that industry has also been transitioning out of the state as well.
New Jersey used to be known as “the nation’s medicine chest,” but over the past two decades, many of the state’s pharmaceutical industry jobs have dried up or moved elsewhere, and left millions of square feet of office space, warehouses and laboratories sitting empty.
As one commenter on a New Jersey newspaper’s website stated:
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Companies than can easily relocate out of NJ, will. Unless the cost burden of relocation is so high due to inrasructure investments already here there is not many reasons to stay parked in NJ. The “but we’re so close to NYC” defense doesn’t hold much water these days.
What’s worse for New Jersey is that, even with Chris Christie as governor, the exodus is not easing.
“The Legislature, the governor are playing around the edge. They’ve got this program and that program,” James Kosch, an attorney who represents several companies that have taken operations out of the state, told the panel.
Kathleen Alexander, a partner in the Clifton accounting firm of SaxBST, also has clients itching to exit New Jersey.
“As financial planners and business advisers, our clients are asking us to help them get out of the state once their kids leave high school,” Alexander said. “It is happening more. We need to do something to stop our wealthy individuals – including everybody in this room — from leaving New Jersey.”
As the old saying among those familiar with New Jersey goes: New Jersey, the only state that lets you in for free, but charges you to leave.
In many cases, people (and companies) appear to be more than willing to pay the price to leave the withering Garden State.
“Truth isn’t mean. It’s truth.”
Andrew Breitbart (1969-2012)