WASHINGTON – New York, once upon a time the symbol of American economic might and creativity, run out of ideas. Or at least this applies to the people in charge of promoting New York State as a place for doing business.
Tax holiday state
On TV business channels, (Bloomberg, CNBC), these days you are bound to watch an often repeated TV ad supposedly promoting New York State as a great place for corporations. And what is the pitch? A rather poor one.
You learn that New York State is open for business. If you have a good idea and want to develop it, you should go to New York State, because there you will get a nice tax holiday. Yes, if you bring your business to us –New York promoters tell you– you’ll pay no taxes for 10 ten years, or something like that. Give or take a few embellishments, this is pretty much it: “No taxes or very low taxes for new businesses coming to New York State”. This is really dry, unimaginative and very poor.
New business seeks a vibrant environment
Of course taxes are a big deal. And any business person will listen when you promise an extended tax holiday. But while this is true, it also true that business people, especially young entrepreneurs in tech sectors, are drawn to dynamic, vibrant environments where there is plenty of talent, research facilities, a cultural life, state of the art telecommunications infrastructure, and world-class, competitive logistics.
None of this is mentioned in the TV ad promoting New York State. It is only about low taxes. Nothing about local talent, human capital, innovation, dynamism, discoveries, enterprise. Here is the legendary “Empire State” version 2014: a “tax holiday” spot. That’s it. Not such an interesting place, really.
The allure of Oklahoma
Compare this with TV ads promoting Oklahoma as a tourist destination. The State is described as a unique blend of old and new. Nature and enterprise. The American West. Culture and fine dining. And the greetings are delivered by an attractive Native American woman who says hello in her own native language.
Now, that’s interesting, alluring and intriguing.