TRENTON – It’s a revenue horse pulling in over $40 million annually, but the Department of State “in many cases is overlooked,” according to Assembly Budget Chairman Lou Greenwald, (D-6), of Voorhees.
Making sure it isn’t overlooked, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, the secretary of state, came before Greenwald’s committee today.
Guadagno spoke about the department’s increased “synergy between its traditional mission and New Jersey’s larger economic development policy – all with the goal of advancing the state’s superior quality of life.”
Fostering job creation and boosting business investment are among the top goals. Guadagno substantiated department work with hard examples in some of the legislators’ home districts: 90 new jobs and 260 retained at Pinnacle Foods in Greenwald’s 6th District; 135 new jobs and 197 retained at Bind-Rite/Union Graphics in vice chair Gary Schaer’s 36th District; and 100 new jobs and 325 retained at PNY Technologies in Assemblyman Jay Webber’s 26th District.
The economic development might of the department is in the three-part Partnership for Action: Choose New Jersey, the 501(c)3 state name-builder; the Economic Development Authority, the state’s “bank for business;” and the Business Action Center, a governmental “one-stop shop” for business retention, planning, and investment.
“Seven Fortune 500 companies have decided to remain and/or expand their operations here,” Guadagno said. “Another 25 businesses either have already relocated or plan to relocate to New Jersey from competing states such as New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Carolina, and Tennessee.”
The department’s budget, $1.23 billion, is up 2.1 percent from FY11’s adjusted appropriation.
Guadagno said a $12 million hike is directly attributable to the 2012 Presidential Primary, which is overseen by the department’s Division of Elections.