Christie Wants Illinois Businesses

By ANGELA DELLI SANTI
|  Monday, Jan 24, 2011  |  Updated 11:30 PM EDT
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Christie Wants Illinois Businesses

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's administration thinks there's business to be had  from Illinois.

The governor is launching an ad campaign encouraging businesses in Illinois to relocate to the Garden State. An official announcement from the Christie administration is planned for Tuesday, when ads will start appearing in newspapers and on radio stations in major Illinois cities like Chicago and Springfield.

Print and radio ads reiterate Christie's commitment not to raise taxes. The ads follow substantial tax increases recently enacted in Illinois and a promise from Christie earlier this month that he would reach out to Illinois businesses personally and invite them to relocate here.

``The job creators of our country are mobile, and they are looking for a climate that provides the certainty and stability that comes with a fiscally responsible government that manages its budgets accordingly,'' Christie said. ``In New Jersey, we mean business.''

Christie, a Republican, campaigned for GOP gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady, who lost the election to Democrat Pat Quinn.

The winner inherited a budget shortfall equal to roughly half its general fund revenue, so Quinn has raised personal income taxes to 5 percent from 3 percent, and corporate business taxes to 9.5 percent from 7.3 percent.

That makes Illinois' business tax rate higher than New Jersey's 9 percent for businesses with incomes over $100,000. But its personal income tax rate remains lower: New Jersey's rate is 6.37 percent for couples earning more than $150,000 a year and 8.7 percent for those earning more than $500,000 a year.

The cost of the ad campaign wasn't immediately available.      

The ads follow a personal appeal from Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, who sent letters to 553 Illinois-based companies large and small that will be affected by the tax increases. Illinois' neighbors such as Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa and Missouri are also bidding for jobs from the economically troubled state.

Christie himself appears in the ads, pledging to hold the line on taxes and promote growth through job-friendly policies.

Christie spokeswoman Maria Comella said the campaign shows that the governor intends to be hands-on about attracting businesses and jobs to New Jersey.

This is a markedly different approach for a New Jersey governor, she said, and keeps a campaign promise from Christie that he would be the state's marketer-in-chief and biggest advocate to business to capture every opportunity.

But Christie is doing more than seizing a potential business opportunity. He's trying to begin turning around New Jersey's reputation as an unfriendly place for businesses. The Tax Foundation, a nonprofit research organization, has ranked New Jersey worst or nearly worst among the 50 states regarding the tax environment for businesses for the past several years.

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