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Comments by:Peter RiguardiPresident, New York Region Jones Lang LaSalleNew York, NY

Who matters more to your day-to-day operation? The (slim) majority of respondents to last week’s Feedback Poll say the mayor overrides the governor in matters of business support. Of course, as commentator Riguardi states, that really depends on where your state stands in the economic development cycle. While most of his comments reflect current conditions in the Empire State (he is, after all, a New York kinda guy), there is applicability nationally. Read on.

“In New York, for the last few years, given what’s happened Downtown, the gubernatorial election takes precedence. But over long periods of time, in a local marketplace the mayor is more significant.

“The city’s responsibility to provide infrastructure and services and security are the most important aspects for businesses as they live and work in New York. In some other places where incentives are in place to try to attract certain industries, maybe the governor would be more significant, but in New York City, the interaction with the mayor is key.

“Look at the rebound the city experienced under the [Edward] Koch administration or when [Rudolph] Giuliani cleaned up the city or when [Michael] Bloomberg managed post-9/11 issues so adeptly. Those were significant examples of the mayor’s input to the business life of his city.

“In other municipalities, such as in New Jersey, which tend to be less daunting than New York City, the governor becomes more of a symbolic figure of business, providing services and setting the tone of the communities.

“But you can’t use this as a blanket statement for the entire country. Certainly, in states such as Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Texas, where there are significant business cities, the mayors are more important. But if you look at states trying to create business zones or attract commerce through tax benefits, the governor might be more important.”

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