The state’s Economic Development Authority pulled its vote from Tuesday’s meeting on reducing the $40 million tax break award for Express Scripts Pharmacy by nearly $10 million for not creating and retaining the jobs it promised under a 2013 agreement.
Express Scripts initially agreed to create 128 new jobs and retain 585 existing jobs as part of the incentive agreement in 2013, but in May the company reported having only created 116 new jobs and retaining another 408 jobs.
EDA officials proposed reducing the award under Express Scripts’ Legacy Grow New Jersey tax break agreement – a much smaller version of Grow NJ that existed prior to its expansion in 2013 under the Economic Opportunity Act – from $40 million to $31.4 million.
The reduced award would be proportional to the lowered amount of jobs that the company created and retained.
A spokesperson for the EDA said that state officials are waiting on more information from Express Scripts.
In a statement, Express Scripts told NJBIZ it has been working with the EDA “to provide them with the information they need to certify our participation in the NJ GROW project,” adding: “[w]e look forward to that certification happening soon.”
Last month, the EDA cut a $14.5 million tax break to Nestlé down to $9.2 million because it only created 102 out of the 177 jobs it promised to create, according to agency board documents.
Grow NJ, under which the state awarded over $7 billion of tax breaks since the 2013 expansion, has fallen under intense scrutiny by the Murphy administration and several activist groups.
Gov. Phil Murphy declined to sign legislation extending Grow NJ and the Economic Redevelopment and Growth gap financing program for seven months and instead let them expire on July 1, arguing that the two programs are too unfairly rigged to justify letting them continue.
A task force Murphy put together in January recently presented evidence suggesting that companies with strong ties to South Jersey political powerbroker George Norcross either crafted the program to benefit themselves or provided false information about plans to leave the state so they could win more tax breaks.