Turner at EDA Drill-Down: ‘We Should have Learned by Now that Money Cannot Buy You Love’

State Senator Shirley Turner (D-15) may or may not be a Beatles fan.

But the Fab Four got at least one portion of their world view right back in the 1960s.

When she questioned Comptroller Phillip James Degnan this morning concerning his department’s report on the state Economic Development Authority’s (EDA) controversial oversight of five economic incentive programs, Turner expressed concern over the authority’s reported $11 billion worth of tax incentives to businesses.

“We should have learned by now that money cannot buy you love,” said Turner, referring to New Jersey’s recent failed attempt to use financial enticements to bring Amazon to the state.

Turner also wanted to know why the state continues to fail to enforce a 2007 law she sponsored requiring the state treasurer to supply lawmakers with an annual report on how EDA money is being spent.

“I have written to the Christie and Murphy administrations asking why the law has not been enforced,” said Turner.

Degnan didn’t have an answer for her.

There was more discrepancy.

As part of the joint committee’s interrogation of the comptroller, state Senator Steve Oroho (R-24) said the state has not yet even paid out ten percent of the $11 billion in question.  “The [EDA] has issued $696 million over the past two decades,” said Oroho.

Assemblyman Roy Freiman (D-16) focused his line of questioning on putting in place proper measurements to improve the incentive programs going forward.



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