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Bull’s-eye: Other states targeting New York financial service companies

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New York City and, thus, the rest of the state are once again viewed as sources of high-paying jobs because of their unwelcoming attitude toward the many businesses other states in the union desire. New Jersey, Florida, Texas and Kentucky have lured major high-quality employers away from New York.

Crain’s New York Business reports that New Jersey has offered $1.3 billion in corporate assistance, two times more than it provided last year, to attract three significant New York businesses across the Hudson River. JPMorgan Chase, RBC Capital Markets and Univision Communications have promised to move or create a total of 2,000 jobs outside of New York.

Now New York City and New Jersey are fighting over the Bank of New York, which recently sold its headquarters for $585 million. New York City is struggling to find a way to keep the Bank of New York at home while New Jersey is looking to nab this New York icon.

New Jersey’s deal with JPMorgan Chase resulted in the creation of 1,000 jobs with pay in excess of $100,000 a year.

Florida made a deal with Bristol-Myers Squibb to create 600 jobs in Tampa in return for $7 million in incentives.

Tiffany opened a jewelry factory in Kentucky.

The flight of financial jobs from New York City began in 2008 when the economic crisis began. Then, 194,000 people worked in the financial industry in New York City.

The total now is 161,600. This decline comes as the number of financial services jobs has risen by 14,000 nationwide.

The cause is not easy to miss:

n Unrelenting legal attacks on business practices from the last three state attorneys general.

n High corporate taxes.

n High property taxes.

n High personal income taxes.

n And incessant pressure to raise taxes on the top earners in the industry even higher.

It is not surprising that New York’s dominance in the financial services industry is waning.

In response to the pressure from other states, New York state has reluctantly begun to try to compete with its own packages of tax incentives to retain and attract quality job providers while the city said it will not be drawn into such a competition. Judging from the success of New Jersey and Florida, this may not be a very good idea.

What would help would be to reform New York’s image as an inhospitable home for investment and job creation. The city and state could start with tax reform, regulatory relief and embracing the needs of those who create jobs and those who earn livings from the jobs created.

It makes little sense to pick and choose whom the state wants to stay by showering benefits on one group while continuing to demand more from those who do not receive the same incentives. All job providers should be encouraged with the same benefits that a select few enjoy.

Thanks to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s aggressive reaction, the higher taxes proposed by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio were not imposed. But even that action has earned the governor problems from the Working Families Party, which may withhold its endorsement of Mr. Cuomo in this fall’s election.

At this point, so what? The party produced 154,835 votes for Mr. Cuomo in the last election. He also attracted 2.75 million other votes.

The governor will protect the best interests of every working family in New York state by ensuring it can compete with its neighbor New Jersey to provide meaningful jobs and careers. The best method to achieve this end is to reduce the tax and regulatory hurdles the state and the city have erected, which have allowed other states to graze in fields rich with discontented businesses.

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