Indiana? Really? State using billboards to lure N.J. firms

By Tom Bergeron
New Jersey | Mar 6, 2018 at 7:30 am
From our print edition

We’ve long known about competition from nearby New York and Pennsylvania. And even Delaware, with its corporate tax structure.

We struggle to compete against Florida and Texas and their warm weather and lack of a state income tax.

And we hope we can at least draw with North Carolina and Massachusetts, two states we certainly should be able to fight the fight with.

Who ever thought about Indiana?

The “Raiders of New Jersey” just added another team member, as the Hoosier State recently announced its intentions to lure Garden State companies, 14-by-48-feet at a time.

Billboards have been popping up on the New Jersey Turnpike since the start of the year, imploring travelers to “Take your business to the next level.”

They even include a website, astatethatworks.com.

Abby Gras, a spokesperson for the Indiana Economic Development Corp., said the decision to go into New Jersey was strategically made.

“Typically, our campaigns focus on high-cost, high-tax markets, including the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut area, where our ads are currently running,” she said. “This is part of a yearlong campaign.”

Actually, Indiana’s efforts go back farther than that.

Gras said the state has worked for more than a decade to create a pro-growth business climate. Indiana was recently recognized as No. 1 in the Midwest and No. 5 in the nation by Chief Executive magazine when it comes to business climate.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, in an interview with the ROI-NJ editorial board that appears in this issue, said he is “laser-focused and committed unendingly to growing this economy.”

Murphy feels he can help New Jersey become a progressive state in its benefits to both residents and businesses. He knows he has a fight on his hands. He just may not have been expecting it to come from the Midwest.

Gras said the Hoosiers are ready.

The Indiana EDC touts that businesses benefit from low costs, low taxes, reduced regulations and a connected, central location that allows easy and convenient access to customers and clients across the globe.

Indiana already has found success in Illinois, which everyone is raiding, and elsewhere.

That elsewhere is now the Northeast.

“As we work to build on our economic momentum and make Indiana a magnet for jobs, we are sharing our story with businesses across the country and around the world, inviting them to discover the many reasons why Indiana is a state that works,” Gras said.

This year, it’s working on taking New Jersey companies.