NJ Citizen Action released the following statement today, which calls for bills extending and reforming the state Economic Development Authority’s (NJEDA) corporate tax incentive programs to be held in the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee. They cite the bills’ inability to protect taxpayer funds from being misused or guarantee a return on investment as reasons to keep the bills in committee.
“We call on the Assembly today to hold A5343, which would extend the Grow New Jersey Assistance Program and the State and local Economic Redevelopment and Growth Grant Programs,” said Dena Mottola-Jaborska, Associate Director of New Jersey Citizen Action. “Instead of expanding jobs and strengthening New Jersey’s economy, the programs have mainly benefited large, politically connected corporations that have delivered wholly inadequate benefits to the state and our people. We can no longer afford to invest taxpayer dollars in such ineffective programs without major reforms.
“Unfortunately, A4730 does not go far enough to implement these reforms and should be held as well. It fails to cap the overall cost of the program, which is one of the most important reforms needed to protect taxpayer dollars from misuse and guarantee a return on investment. We must ensure the total cost of the programs each year are included in the state budget and based on the state’s actual ability to support and afford the programs.
“Finally, by refusing to take testimony from the public and the taxpayers on these bills, the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee have silenced the most important voices they should be hearing today. These are taxpayer dollars the Legislature would be spending, but without taxpayer input. This is a major breach of the democratic principle, and these bills should be held until the public can be properly heard on them.”