December 17, 2020 – With state lawmakers fast-tracking a 200-plus page bill to renew New Jersey’s corporate tax subsidy programs, good government watch dogs and advocates from across the political spectrum are urging Governor Murphy and legislative leaders to slow it down.
In an open letter sent earlier today to Governor Murphy, Senate President Sweeney, and Assembly Speaker Coughlin, the For The Many NJ coalition calls for the bill to be taken off the fast-track so the public can properly scrutinize it, and for lawmakers to rein in the $11.5 billion price tag of the proposal.
“This bill is far too big, and it is moving far too fast,” the letter reads. “Fast-tracking billions of dollars in new corporate tax breaks through the Legislature in less than a week will not allow the public, press, policy experts, or advocates time to adequately vet such a comprehensive and costly proposal.”
The letter highlights that the proposal (A4/S3295) would allow the state to award even more corporate subsidies than under the Economic Opportunity Act, the controversial bill passed in 2013 that was heavily scrutinized by an independent task force commissioned by Governor Murphy.
“The task force’s findings, combined with independent investigative reporting, made clear that New Jersey’s corporate tax subsidies had robbed the state Treasury of billions of dollars with little-to-no return on investment for the average taxpayer,” the coalition writes. “That is why we are so surprised by the sheer size of the new corporate tax subsidy legislation that was announced on Tuesday.”
During the Christie administration, New Jersey awarded more than $8 billion in corporate tax subsidies with little-to-no return on investment for the average taxpayer. The new proposal being fast-tracked through the Legislature would normalize this level of spending and crowd out funds in future state budgets that could otherwise go toward public schools and transit, public goods proven to grow the economy.
“The sky-high caps in this bill are even larger than what the state spent under the Economic Opportunity Act and would cement New Jersey’s standing as a national outlier in corporate tax subsidy spending,” the letter adds.
The letter is signed by more than thirty organizations, including New Jersey Working Families, New Jersey Policy Perspective, Americans for Prosperity – New Jersey, and the Good Government Coalition of New Jersey.
For The Many is a statewide coalition of more than 30 organizations working collectively to expand funding for essential services and improve budget practices to adequately meet current and future needs, especially for communities that have been historically marginalized.
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