The full page advertisement appearing this month in the Hartford Business Journal did not tout the virtues of a Connecticut business or community, nonprofit organization or coalition. It stated, boldly, that “A Better Climate Starts With A 2.5% Corporate Income Tax” and went on to explain that “North Carolina is home to the lowest corporate income tax in the country.”
The advertisement, depicting two people heading downstream in canoes, continued “that’s just the beginning. See how businesses grow, people thrive and ideas spread in North Carolina.” It urged readers to contact the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, at EDPNC.com.
EDPNC was created in 2014 by North Carolina’s legislature to be the sales and marketing arm of the state, taking on several roles previously held by the state’s Commerce Department dealing with international trade, business attraction and tourism, according to the Triangle Business Journal, published earlier this year in Raleigh, NC. Nearly 90 percent of EDPNC’s budget is reportedly funded by state appropriations. Since 2015, the agency reports that it has helped the state win more than 500 corporate locations and expansions, 67,000 announced new jobs and $14 billion in proposed new investments.
The ad’s appearance in Hartford is not a reaction to the state’s just-ended legislative session and increases in business taxes that received criticism from state business organizations, or the soon-to-resume debate on instituting tolls across the state.
It is “not part of a broader Connecticut-focused campaign,” according to EDPNC spokesperson Mary Wilson, who said that similar ads have been placed in markets in other states. There are no immediate plans for additional advertising here, she added.
Officials would not say whether the ad generated any business relocation or expansion leads, but indicated they “hope that all of our advertising encourages companies to reach out to us directly for more information about why our state is a top choice for businesses considering where to locate or expand.” Also noted: “Our population is one of the nation’s fastest-growing, fueled largely by in-migration from other states.”
In CNBC’s annual ranking of the “Top States for Business” in 2018, North Carolina was #9, Connecticut was #37. This year’s rankings are due to be announced next month. A decade ago, North Carolina also held the #9 slot while Connecticut was #35.
This latest push for local businesses to head south to North Carolina is not uncommon, with some business moves more memorable than others.
One business relocation that continues to stick in the craw of many Connecticut residents is the 1997 move of the iconic Hartford Whalers National Hockey League franchise, which ultimately landed – and remains - in Raleigh, NC.