N.Y. raises stakes in battle for businesses
The sun and jazz music rise over New York's cityscape in the television ad to the unmistakable voice of consummate New Yorker, Robert DeNiro.
“This is New York state,” the actor says as vivid scenes of the Hudson River, rich farm land and the Chrysler Building flash by.
The slick ad featuring DeNiro is part of a raging-bull of a marketing campaign — $50 million worth — to lure companies and jobs to The Empire State.
The ads, which promote New York as an attractive place for technology companies and startups, among others, are running on television stations in Pittsburgh ,where the stakes can be high.
The city is enjoying an economic renaissance from the collapse of the steel industry three decades ago. The transformation has made it a center for technology, banking, health care and research.
States and local governments have not been shy in their efforts to win business from each other — something that is familiar to Western Pennsylvania, where battles have been waged over the years to land several important projects.
“We recognize that in the current economy, there's aggressive competition for job-creating projects,” said Steve Kratz, a spokesman for state Department of Community and Economic Development.
Pennsylvania's budget for ads touting the state to outside companies is less than $1 million, according to the economic development department. The governor is seeking to increase that amount by $5 million next fiscal year.
Although it doesn't “have an aggressive campaign right now,” Pennsylvania does spend thousands of dollars on trade magazine and on-line ads that target business decision-makers, Katz said.
The New York ads have run since last summer in major markets across the country.
“It's rare that you see a major ad buy like New York's,” said Jim Futrell, vice president of market research for the Allegheny County Conference on Community Development.
Several seconds into the New York ad, historic black-and-white scenes give way to color shots of modern manufacturing, wind turbines and big construction projects. DeNiro concludes by saying: “The new New York works for business. Find out how it can work for yours.”
But Futrell and other economic development experts say it will take more than a splashy, expensive ad campaign to win over businesses.
“Marketing is the sizzle — a way to get a message out,” said John Boyd Jr., principal at The Boyd Co., a corporate site selection consultant based in Princeton, N.J.
“The reality is businesses look at taxes, the labor climate and the real estate climate to determine if they want to (locate) bricks and mortar in a state or market,” said Boyd, noting New York remains a high-tax state.
New York can point to some big wins in recent years. Google spent $1.8 billion in 2010 to buy the building in Manhattan that it occupied four years earlier. Facebook followed with plans to build an engineering campus near Grand Central Station.
Although Pennsylvania officials doubt New York will peel off many companies, the state continues to float millions in tax breaks, grants and other incentives to tempt businesses to move to Pennsylvania or expand here.
The state provided businesses with $164.8 million in job-creation grants and tax credits in the fiscal year ended June 30. The state provided $65.6 million in low-interest loans to companies last year.
The incentives have proven successful. The state defeated aggressive marketing efforts from Charlotte and Phoenix in 2007 for US Airways' $25 million flight operations control center in Moon Township. A potential win for Pennsylvania and the region is a $4 billion ethane cracker plant that Royal Dutch Shell plc is considering and might build in Beaver County.
Boyd said that Pennsylvania may win more contests for companies without dangling financial sweeteners because the state is starting to shed its reputation for having an unfriendly climate for business, especially in terms of taxation.
For example, Gov. Tom Corbett has proposed lowering Pennsylvania's 9.99 percent corporate net income tax rate — lower only than Iowa's 12 percent rate — to a much more competitive 6.99 percent by 2019.
“The reality is the business climate is better in Pennsylvania than in New York state,” said Boyd. “It has lower business costs and an abundance of natural gas, which is great for manufacturers.
“And there's tremendous intellectual capital in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia with all the research at colleges there.”
Thomas Olson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached a 412-320-7854 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pittsburgh’s tech startup activity rates last of 40 metro areas in report
- After years of downsizing, big houses make comeback
- Floating homes offer ‘affordable’ option in San Francisco area
- New J.C. Penney CEO comes from middle-income America
- Corporate America speaking out on social issues, getting results
- Truffle dogs sniff out pungent fungus prized by foodies
- Pope’s South American homecoming to spotlight poor, environment
- Pending home sales in U.S. climb to 9-year high
- Halliburton to close Indiana County office
- Obama overtime proposal slammed
- McDonald’s localizes menus to battle growing competition