Can NJ be more business-friendly?
Faced with high taxes and rising costs, corporate giant Mercedes-Benz is relocating its headquarters from Montvale, N.J. to Atlanta, Ga. The move means the loss of at least 1,000 jobs, and is the latest in a string of departures being blamed on the Garden State's unfriendly business climate.
"One measure calls for a task force to be created to find out exactly why businesses are leaving," Pennachio said, "because we need to figure out, is there anything that we can do as a state to keep them in here, to make them grow, to make them expand, to make them flourish? It would be nice if we took away politics out of public policy, and just get a straight answer."
Another measure calls for the state treasurer to do an in-depth study to determine if New Jersey's income tax policies are helping or hurting.
Pennacchio said one reason companies may be leaving the state is the high cost of energy.
Right now the state is collecting energy surcharges from companies, but he said "they're going unused, and there's money there, so instead of just collecting the money for collecting's sake, why don't we just cut that out so those businesses can see more profit, more bottom line?"
Yet another piece of legislation would restore the state's Business Employment Incentive Program, giving grants to companies that create new jobs.
Pennacchio also said a different bill would eliminate fees charged to businesses to pay for affordable housing.
"Having that kind of requirement is absurd," he said. "We have to convince corporate bosses that Jersey is a great place to do business and raise a family; we shouldn't be scaring them off."
The legislation package, taken as a whole, is the latest phase of state Senate Republicans' six-part rollout of job creation and growth initiatives. Pennacchio said the package will not cost taxpayers extra money, and should receive widespread bipartisan support.
According to Pennacchio, fixing the state's business climate "is a very simple solution: Get out of people's way, and once they've earned it, they have a right to keep it."