April 1 New Jersey has provided more corporate
tax breaks in the past three years than in the entire previous
decade, yet the state's economy continues to lag, according to a
report released on Monday.
Since the start of 2010, when Republican Governor Chris
Christie took office, the state has awarded $2.1 billion in
subsidies, compared to $1.25 billion for the previous 10 years,
New Jersey Policy Perspective, the liberal think-tank, said in
Even so, New Jersey's economy remains sluggish. Though its
unemployment rate has fallen slightly, it is the sixth highest
in the United States at 9.3 percent in February, well above the
national jobless rate of 7.7 percent.
New Jersey had the second-highest foreclosure rate in
January at 7.2 percent, behind only Florida, according to
"So far, efforts to spur economic growth through
aggressively awarding subsidies have not borne fruit," the
think-tank said in its report.
A spokesman for Christie, Michael Drewniak, said the group
was "not credible."
"This 'study' simply fails to consider the disadvantage we'd
be in without effective job retention and business incentive
programs," Drewniak said in a statement, noting that both
Democrats and Republicans have supported such measures.
Ben Sparks, spokesman for the state Republican Party, said
in a statement that New Jersey Policy Perspective was trying to
take the state back to "the failed policies " of ex-Democratic
Governor Jon Corzine.
Corporate give-aways aren't new. But they've taken on
urgency as many U.S. states struggle to recover from the
recession, which stripped jobs and revenues.
Tax breaks and subsidies have been popular with cities and
states trying to lure businesses in the hopes of creating and
New Jersey has at least five different corporate tax and
incentive programs. In the last three years, the largest award
overall was a $261.4 million grant to Revel Casino, which filed
for bankruptcy in March.
The lavish new casino that opened in April 2012 will slash
its $1.52 billion of debt to about $272 million under a
prepackaged bankruptcy protection plan.
Overall, New Jersey officials have awarded tax credits and
grants to 171 projects since February 2010.
Bayer Healthcare, Citibank, Pfizer, UBS Financial Services,
Prudential Financial, Panasonic and Lockheed Martin are among
companies receiving some of the largest taxpayer-funded
incentives in the past three years, according to the report.
The report said that the state should focus more on economic
development funding for education, infrastructure and