TRENTON, NJ (January 14, 2019)(CNBNewsnet)--New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said Monday his office will investigate whether any laws were broken during the state’s
distribution of corporate tax incentives. Governor Murphy announced last week that he will be capping some of New Jersey’s tax break credit programs for 2019. Murphy ordered an audit on the Economic Development Authority’s tax incentive programs worth almost $11 billion.
“It’s important that Attorney General Grewal is going to investigate EDA and how they used their tax incentive program. We are concerned that EDA mismanaged $11 billion in tax breaks and subsidies. This tax program is a giant giveaway to corporations that don’t need it at the expense of critical programs that help the middle class and the environment. These tax subsidies are taking away money for open space, cleaning up toxic sites, and more was used for tax incentives for American Dream Xanadu Mall and Prudential that resulted in very few jobs,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “EDA’s tax program is corporate sprawl fare at its finest, and it is important that Attorney General Grewal will work to get back any of our money if it is misspent and put in legislative reforms.”
Some of the subsidies that Christie gave out was to the Xanadu Mall, $81 million to Goya Foods to move 5 miles and create 9 additional jobs, $250 million for Prudential to move a few blocks in Newark, $42 million tax break to Campbell’s soup, $261 million for construction of Revel casino in Atlantic City, $14 million to Bayer Healthcare, $12 million to Intrasphere Technologies, Holtec, Honeywell, Lockheed Martin, and more.
“We had opposed this tax program in the first place and this audit shows that we were right. They are taking away money for open space and cleaning up toxic sites. The biggest corporate subsidies in the state went to the Xanadu Mall with tax subsidies that are now reaching over $1.15 billion. This is especially troubling since the state cannot even fund Brownfield remediation projects to clean up toxic sites around the state,”said Tittel. “In order to make up for the tax subsidies, they raided critical environmental funds like the Clean Energy Fund and Exxon Settlement Fund. Some people rob you with a gun, others with a pen. This is taxpayer robbery.”
The comptroller’s audit examined 48 projects and found that out of 15,000 promised jobs, nearly 3,000 couldn’t be documented or were double counted.
“EDA’s tax program is broken and need to be fixed. We must cap unnecessary subsidies and the program itself must be more transparent. New Jersey should not be making middle class taxpayers and the environment pay billions of dollars for corporate subsidies when there is little to no benefit from it. That money could be better spent for offshore wind or creating real jobs,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “We thank Attorney General Grewal for investigating EDA’s downright fraudulent tax program. It is an important first step in holding them accountable.”