Guadagno touts economic growth during budget hearing

TRENTON – New Jersey is becoming more attractive for business and is beginning to host more major events, Lt. Gov Kim Guadagno said in her testimony before the Assembly Budget Committee this morning.

Guadagno testified in her capacity as the head of the Department of State.

The proposed state FY 2013 budget allocates $63.22 million for the Department of State, which is a decrease of $1.64 million from FY 2012. The decrease is related to a recommended reduction to records management for the same amount.

Guadagno, who was complimented by members of the committee for her accessibility, said she has been out meeting with New Jersey-based businesses since taking office.

“We’ve aggressively gone out to the community to reach out to business in New Jersey,” Guadagno said. “[We] thank them for staying here and let them know we want them to stay here.”

The state also operates a New Jersey Business Action Center, which works to encourage economic development in New Jersey.

Guadagno said in the past year the Business Action Center has seen a 16 percent increase in the number of contacts it has established.

The next step for the Department of State is to look to attract global businesses to New Jersey, Guadagno said.

“We need to look internationally,” Guadagno said. “In the last year we have hosted 11 international trade delegations, (with companies) from such countries as China, Portugal, and France (attending).”

Guadagno also said that this month the state would announce the creation of an “Office of International Business Development and Protocol.”

“The sole purpose will be to engage the international community into bringing jobs to New Jersey,” Guadagno said.

Guadagno also touted the state’s ability to secure major events like the Super Bowl, Wrestlemania, Formula 1 Racing, NASCAR, and Bamboozle as a sign of the state’s attractiveness.

She said the Super Bowl can be beneficial not only for the area surrounding the Meadowlands, but the state is looking into how more parts of New Jersey can benefit from the expected crowds and money headed toward the Garden State.

“What’s good for the Meadowlands during the Super Bowl can also be good for Cape May during the Super Bowl and Atlantic City during the Super Bowl,” Guadagno said.

Guadagno said the proposed budget would allow her department to continue to maintain the same operations.

Other highlights of the Department of State budget

–        The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority is expected to be transferred from the Department of Community Affairs to the Department of State. The Authority is recommended to receive $9.45 million in direct state services funding in FY 2013.

–        State aid appropriations for the Division of State Library for Per Capita Library Aid and for the Library Network are maintained at FY 2012 levels of $3.7 million and $4.3 million, respectively.

–        State aid funding for extended polling place hours is maintained at $7 million, the same as FY 2012. 

Guadagno touts economic growth during budget hearing