New Jersey Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, by her own admission, was not subtle when she took center stage at the Biotech 2011 conference in Philadelphia to drum up business for her home state.
She gave a speech layered with assurances of tax incentives and tax deductions to lure businesses. She even left her cell phone number.
“I want all of you to move to New Jersey,” she announced to a bemused audience during a luncheon reception at the conference.
Full props for accessibility, though it seems like Biotech 2011 should focus on how the region, the New Jersey and Pennsylvania economic development associations and industry organizations should reach beyond state and territorial boundaries. They should figure out a way to foster more partnerships, as some of the panel discussions indicated, instead of using an industry event (tongue-in-cheek or no) to drum up a more lucrative tax base.
Company swiping is an art in many of the major medical cities. Research Triangle Park would love to pilfer the Twin Cities medical device startups in the same way Guadagno looks at Philadelphia’s over-the-border industry. Cleveland and Boston have been trading business lately, too.
But does an industry event like this really need to boil down to adjacent state rivalry? For example, one place there’s d tente is around the Illinois-Wisconsin-Minnesota borders, where the three sides are betting collaboration will mean jobs that flow across the borders.
And is this really the best way to use an industry event at a time like this, when everyone could instead be uniting to attack the U.S. Food and Drug Administration? I don’t think so.
Am I taking this the wrong way? Or is this business as usual?