Thursday, October 1, 2009


New Jersey has just come in last place in a list of business friendly states – at least as far as taxes go – according to the Tax Foundation, a nonprofit organization that keeps track of such things. It’s the second year in a row New Jersey has scraped the basement. New Jersey has higher property taxes than anyone else, and comes in just above New York in personal income taxes. This year, New Jersey has added a few new taxes just to make sure we keep the tarnished tin cup for a long time to come. We used to be able to say, “Well, at least we’re not New York.” No more.

Who is most business friendly? South Dakota. There is also Wyoming and Alaska. That’s right. We got our butts beaten, and beaten badly, by Sarah Palin, who is suddenly looking a lot more competent than Governor Corzine.

What to do? For some, the answer is to get out of town. A 2007 Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey Poll found that 49% of New Jersey residents wanted to move out of state.

Over the last 10 years, New Jersey lost 150,000 manufacturing jobs. When I turn on the television I see ads narrated by Jeff Daniels encouraging businesses to move to Michigan. Michigan really wants our business. Apparently Detroit is doing so badly that they ran out of money to bury their dead. So they really are pushing incentives to move to Michigan. New Jersey doesn't bury its dead either - we just elect them to higher office. South Carolina also advertises on billboards near the airport trying to get our people. Other states are willing to bribe New Jersey businesses to move, awarding 5-year tax breaks, and even paying for the moving trucks. Obviously, many employees will follow these companies to other states, especially closer, more business-friendly states such as Delaware and Pennsylvania.

That’s not counting the businesses that are moving overseas and leaving their employees behind. When I get calls from debt collectors, they are usually from India. When you call up about your phone bill, you often get India. This is not an anti-foreigner rant – I have Indian friends who came here to the U.S. to work and are complaining about their high-paying jobs going to India. Maybe New Jersey should secede from the Union and become an Indian state. After all, the rupee is doing better than the dollar these days.

If New Jersey wants an economic recovery, it needs to be friendlier to businesses. Bruce Springstein and Bon Jovi are not reasons to move a business to New Jersey. Unfortunately, pro-business usually means anti-union. Plus, it would require major health care reform since one-third of employee costs involve health care.

New Jersey needs to be friendlier to people too. New Jersey prohibits out-of-state competition for health insurance. Also, a lot of medical patients leave New Jersey for California in order to obtain legal medical marijuana for their health conditions.

In the current political climate, Corzine is saying nasty things about Christie. Christie is also saying nasty things about Corzine. I fear they are both right, which leaves us with little or no choice.

Hey, maybe Sarah Palin needs a new job.

Mr. Wolf can be contacted through his website at