In fact, if you’re a business chief in the Philadelphia area, you already might be on the docket of Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who has scheduled a visit there late this month for the sole, expressed purpose of stealing companies and jobs out from under the nose of newly elected Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf.
Scott’s brazen move represents an escalation of this practice. He’s gone to other states before, raising the ire of fellow governors. Other governors who have gone on such adventures have included former Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s excursions into California to invite dissatisfied company owners to pull up stakes and relocate to the business-friendly Lone Star State, and outreaches to Illinois companies by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.
“Pennsylvania has a new governor who’s trying to raise income taxes,” Scott told CEO Briefing, referring to Gov. Wolf’s plan to raise his state’s flat 3.07-percent income tax. “That state’s corporate income taxes are nearly double Florida’s, and there’s a tax on inheritances and capital stock,” Scott said. “When [Pennsylvania has] a governor … wanting to raise business taxes, that highlights the opportunity for Florida. That’s helpful to us when he’s making it more difficult for Pennsylvania businesses.”
Wolf, a business builder himself and a former state revenue secretary, also proposed instituting mandated sick leave for some employers. Wolf’s office said that his focus will be “on rebuilding the middle class” and that he plans to offer “new and innovative ideas that support new manufacturing and growth industries.”
“I am a different kind of governor—one who has built and run a successful business,” Wolf said. “State government must play a strategic role in ‘setting the table’ for private-sector investments and economic growth, by [moves including] making key investments in education and workforce development, and 21st Century communications and trade infrastructure.”
In Chief Executive’s 2014 Best & Worst States for Business ranking, which came out prior to the mid-term elections, Florida ranked No. 2 and Pennsylvania ranked No. 42. Editorial note: The 2015 rankings of Best & Worst States for Business will be published May 2015.