Governor Jack Markell joined his counterparts from Wisconsin, Florida and other parts of the nation for a summitt held in Washington, D.C. this morning.
The annual U.S. Chamber of Commerce meeting brought together governors from both sides of the aisle, leaders of state chambers and business leaders to talk about what policies make some states more attractive for businesses during difficult economic times.
Governor Markell told the group of Delaware’s success in getting new businesses to move into the former GM and Chrysler assembly plants. He says the key lesson state leaders have learned through those efforts is to “be more responsive than any business could possibly expect, not just from a government, but from a business.”
Markell also talked about the importance of what he described as “customer calls,” visiting with businesses of all sizes, something he says he does almost every week. “We have no agenda other than one question, which is, ‘What can we do to facilitate your success.'” Markell says during those private meetings, only a handful of business leaders have answered that question by talking about taxes. Those leaders told Markell they want him to focus on improving schools, improving the transportation infrasturcture, continued job training, and reducing time for approval of permits.
“My job is to make sure that everybody in our administration… that we have a better understanding of the industries in our state and that we’re more committed to the success of the businesses in our state than any other state could possibly be,” Markell said.
The summit coincided with the release of the Enterprising States study done by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The study ranked Delaware as a top exporting state, with $5 billion in merchandise exported in 2010. Chemical products made up nearly half of that total, with computers and electronic products, transportation equipment, machinery, plastics and rubber products making the list of other top exports from Delaware to the world. The biggest bulk of Delaware’s exports (44%) go to Canada and the United Kingdom. You can find the full report (.pdf) on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce website.