Tax Credit Credibility: The Great Debate
Ever since Governor Chris Christie took office in 2010, there has been a continuous argument over how much information should be disclosed on the distribution of the $5 billion tax incentives. Christie himself would rather take a 'holistic' approach given that projects are ongoing, and the full economic benefit can’t be acknowledged when the evaluations of spending are held annually. Yet many senators and assemblymen disagree. Specifically, Assemblyman Troy Singleton (D-Burlington) who sponsored the bill that would allow taxpayers to know exactly where their money was going. Christie vetoed this bill on May 11, 2015 leaving Singleton to either accept Christie’s amendments or drop the issue altogether. In 2013 Democratic Senator from Union, Raymond Lesniak, introduced a drastic approach with his bill that would include a moratorium on the tax incentives until further information on its usage is made public.
Al Koeppe, chair on the board of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, writes that there is a misconception on how the $5 billion dollars is being spent. Koeppe states that corporations and developers are still going through the application process, therefore the money has not been allocated to them. Since the $5 billion tax credit initiative began, only $63.2 million has been distributed under the Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit, Economic Redevelopment, Growth and Grow New Jersey. The benefits of the $63.2 million of tax credit have been: private investment of $732.3 million, 1,920 permanent jobs, and 3,129 construction jobs. Koeppe also mentioned that all of the reports on incentives and project certification is easily accessible on the njeda.com website.
Thanks to Chynna Pickens for Contributing Economic Incentives in the News