Insider NJ

NJ Citizen Action: New Jersey Legislature To Hold Invite-Only Hearings But Offer No Reforms For Flawed Corporate Tax Subsidy Programs

Insider NJ — September 4, 2019

NJ Citizen Action called for two bills extending and reforming NJEDA corporate tax incentive programs to be held in the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee, saying they don't protect taxpayer dollars from misuse or guarantee a return on investment.

Highland Park — New Jersey Citizen Action issued the following statement today in response to the State Legislature scheduling invite-only hearings on the New Jersey Economic Development Authority's flawed corporate tax subsidy programs for September 5th and September 23rd, NJCA and other advocacy groups have called for comprehensive reforms to these programs.

"It's been nine months since the state Comptroller report highlighted the widespread abuse and mismanagement of the GROW NJ and Economic Redevelopment and Growth Grant programs," said Dena Mottola Jaborska, Associate Director of New Jersey Citizen Action. "These programs combined awarded $11 billion to New Jersey corporations for more than a decade for woefully insufficient returns, costing the state a whopping 1 billion dollars this year alone. That amount will continue to increase and cripple New Jersey's fiscal health unless we enact real reforms.

"In these past nine months, the New Jersey Legislature's only action has been to rapidly push through program extensions, which they advanced without public comment. Governor Murphy used his conditional veto of the program's extension last month to call for meaningful reforms. But his call has been met with more inaction by the Legislature, who have yet to offer their own reform proposal.

"Now, the Legislature has called for more legislative hearings to hear from invited guests only on these programs. These hearings once again have shut out the public and a wide range of experts who must be allowed to participate in this vital process. The first hearing will cover best program practices and oversight, while the second will cover the impact of delayed tax awards and subsidies on the state's overall economy.

"Today, New Jersey Citizen Action calls on the Legislature to:

1) Cease pushing for program extensions without prioritizing and enacting comprehensive reforms. The Legislature should accept the reforms contained in the Governor's conditional veto, or offer their own, comprehensive reform proposal. New Jersey Citizen Action strongly supports the Governor's conditional veto and offer our own reform proposals.

2) Evaluate the total impact of the state's business tax subsidies on the state budget and make that amount publicly transparent to the taxpayers, annually, along with an expert- verified analysis of the return on investment.

3) Commit to open and democratic hearings going forward on this issue and all issues. Any hearing covering the future of the EDA tax subsidy programs must be open to experts and members of the public with varying viewpoints. The Legislature must also accept and review data and research about the effectiveness of these tax subsidies, and not rely solely anecdotes as evidence to guide their position."

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, 2019

Senate Select Committee on Economic Growth Strategies Meeting 10:00 AM Committee Room 4, 1st Floor,

State House Annex, Trenton, NJ

Chair: Sen. Smith, Bob

The Select Committee will take testimony from invited guests concerning tax incentive program best practices and oversight of the GROW NJ program and the Economic Redevelopment and Growth Grant program.

Voting Session: Board list to be announced

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2019

Senate Select Committee on Economic Growth Strategies Meeting 10:00 AM Committee Room 4, 1st Floor,

State House Annex, Trenton, NJ

Chair: Sen. Smith, Bob

The Select Committee will take testimony from invited representatives of businesses directly impacted by New Jersey Economic Development Authority tax incentives and experts in economic development. Invited guests will testify concerning the impact of delayed tax incentive awards, the expiration of existing tax incentive programs, and the overall impact of tax incentives on the economy.

called for two bills extending and reforming NJEDA corporate tax incentive programs to be held in the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee, saying they don't protect taxpayer dollars from misuse or guarantee a return on investment.

Highland Park — New Jersey Citizen Action issued the following statement today in response to the State Legislature scheduling invite-only hearings on the New Jersey Economic Development Authority's flawed corporate tax subsidy programs for September 5th and September 23rd, NJCA and other advocacy groups have called for comprehensive reforms to these programs.

"It's been nine months since the state Comptroller report highlighted the widespread abuse and mismanagement of the GROW NJ and Economic Redevelopment and Growth Grant programs," said Dena Mottola Jaborska, Associate Director of New Jersey Citizen Action. "These programs combined awarded $11 billion to New Jersey corporations for more than a decade for woefully insufficient returns, costing the state a whopping 1 billion dollars this year alone. That amount will continue to increase and cripple New Jersey's fiscal health unless we enact real reforms.

"In these past nine months, the New Jersey Legislature's only action has been to rapidly push through program extensions, which they advanced without public comment. Governor Murphy used his conditional veto of the program's extension last month to call for meaningful reforms. But his call has been met with more inaction by the Legislature, who have yet to offer their own reform proposal.

"Now, the Legislature has called for more legislative hearings to hear from invited guests only on these programs. These hearings once again have shut out the public and a wide range of experts who must be allowed to participate in this vital process. The first hearing will cover best program practices and oversight, while the second will cover the impact of delayed tax awards and subsidies on the state's overall economy.

"Today, New Jersey Citizen Action calls on the Legislature to:

1) Cease pushing for program extensions without prioritizing and enacting comprehensive reforms. The Legislature should accept the reforms contained in the Governor's conditional veto, or offer their own, comprehensive reform proposal. New Jersey Citizen Action strongly supports the Governor's conditional veto and offer our own reform proposals.

2) Evaluate the total impact of the state's business tax subsidies on the state budget and make that amount publicly transparent to the taxpayers, annually, along with an expert- verified analysis of the return on investment.

3) Commit to open and democratic hearings going forward on this issue and all issues. Any hearing covering the future of the EDA tax subsidy programs must be open to experts and members of the public with varying viewpoints. The Legislature must also accept and review data and research about the effectiveness of these tax subsidies, and not rely solely anecdotes as evidence to guide their position."

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, 2019

Senate Select Committee on Economic Growth Strategies Meeting 10:00 AM Committee Room 4, 1st Floor,

State House Annex, Trenton, NJ

Chair: Sen. Smith, Bob

The Select Committee will take testimony from invited guests concerning tax incentive program best practices and oversight of the GROW NJ program and the Economic Redevelopment and Growth Grant program.

Voting Session: Board list to be announced

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2019

Senate Select Committee on Economic Growth Strategies Meeting 10:00 AM Committee Room 4, 1st Floor,

State House Annex, Trenton, NJ

Chair: Sen. Smith, Bob

The Select Committee will take testimony from invited representatives of businesses directly impacted by New Jersey Economic Development Authority tax incentives and experts in economic development. Invited guests will testify concerning the impact of delayed tax incentive awards, the expiration of existing tax incentive programs, and the overall impact of tax incentives on the economy.

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