At the New Jersey Technology Council’s (NJTC) annual meeting Thursday, Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno said that next week Caren Franzini of the N.J. Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) will announce a pool of funds to be made available, along with high-tech companies’ own funds, to allow companies to “leverage high technology assets in a private/public way.”
Guadagno didn’t provide additional details about the new NJEDA program but did reiterate some of the other steps the Christie administration has taken to make life easier for tech companies. While the state can’t keep tech businesses in N.J. by writing them big checks, Guadagno said, it has provided incentives and tax relief. N.J. has already signed into law a change in the tax credit. “The net operating loss was doubled by this governor in this budget cycle … We have doubled the R & D credit from $30 million to $60 million.”
High-tech companies are also uniquely motivated in N.J., Guadagno said. In order to obtain incentives, other companies must promise to add 25 new jobs over a two-year period, but high-tech companies have to create only 10.
Another private program that will be helping N.J. businesses is a 501(c)(3) organization called Choose New Jersey. This nonprofit corporation is designed to market, promote and attract businesses to the state.
Guadagno went on to discuss the Red Tape Review Commission, which is on a mission to reform the state’s regulatory processes. The basic underlying rule for the Commission is that if the federal government’s regulations are good enough, N.J. doesn’t have to complicate matters by adding its own set of regulations.
At the end of her speech, Gaudagno provided her cellphone number, telling the tech companies in the crowded room that she answers calls herself. She said she wanted to let the companies know that her office was always open to help firms having trouble with some aspect of N.J. government, whether the problem involves regulations, red tape or slow response.
After delivering her prepared remarks, Guadagno replied to previous criticism from some NJTC members that N.J. doesn’t reward companies for partnering with or buying in N.J. She replied that N.J. simply could not do so, because so many of the companies here do business out of state. If N.J. provided rewards, she said, other states would as well, and that might severely restrict commerce within the state. She did not, however, rule out an awareness campaign, along the lines of Jersey Fresh, to make N.J. companies aware of all the business activity here.