New Report Details Sharp Uptick in NJ Business Subsidies

April 1st, 2013  |  by  |  Published in Budget and Tax Policy, NJPP Blog: As a Matter of Fact ..., Press Releases

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: APRIL 1, 2013

Contact: Jon Whiten – whiten@njpp.org or 917-655-3313.

Subsidies Have Accelerated in Recent Years

New Jersey officials have awarded over $2 billion in corporate subsidies in the past three years, according to a New Jersey Policy Perspective (NJPP) report released today.

The $2.1 billion in tax credits and grants went to 170 projects from February 1, 2010 to January 31, 2013, according to the report, “New Jersey’s Subsidy Surge Has Not Subsided,” which is being released as state legislators are working to overhaul all of the state’s incentive programs.

The report also finds that the volume of subsidy awards has skyrocketed this decade: Through just 37 months of the 2010s, New Jersey has awarded $2.11 billion in subsidies – an average of $57.1 million per month. By contrast, through the entire previous decade, the state awarded $1.25 billion – an average of $10.4 million per month.

“New Jersey now relies on a few mega bets that move jobs around within the state to restore jobs and prosperity,” says NJPP president Gordon MacInnes. “It ignores the lessons from states that are taking our best jobs that investments supporting research, educational opportunity, and improved infrastructure are much more productive.”

Other key findings in the report:

* Despite the aggressive use of subsidies, New Jersey’s post-Recession job growth lags behind the recovery experienced by the nation and neighboring states.

* Subsidies are often used by New Jersey to move jobs around the state, protect “at-risk” jobs from leaving, or to poach jobs from surrounding states.

* Existing programs are regularly revised and deregulated to make them less effectively targeted.

* Revisions being considered by the legislature have some worthy stated goals, but fall short of reigning in one of the nation’s most aggressive subsidy programs.

“Awarding tax incentives has become a cornerstone of both parties’ job creation strategies in New Jersey,” says NJPP deputy director and report author Jon Whiten. “But the question remains: Are these subsidies – which will drain the state of much-needed revenue to fund essential services – the key factor considered when companies decide where to locate? In this case, academic research and many CEOs who have benefited both agree: If subsidies matter at all, they are of only marginal importance when compared to high-quality workforce, good schools, great communities and access to key markets.”


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