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Incentives Examined

In The NewsIs New Jersey paying too much to retain telecom jobs? New Jersey Policy Perspective (NJPP), a Trenton nonprofit that focuses on such issues, thinks so. Last week it criticized the state for offering liberal economic incentives to Verizon Communications in exchange for the phone giant retaining and growing a total of 4,100 jobs here. NJPP says Verizon doesn?t need the cash?some $80 million in grants, tax credits and sales tax exemptions?citing the company?s $8.5 billion deal for MCI and the CEO?s $11 million salary.
In a report called the ?Economic Development Accountability Project,? NJPP also notes that Verizon is still moving jobs out of the state, and says this will result in it having a smaller workforce here than it had four years ago. The group singles out Verizon?s plans to place 1,211 call center jobs in North Carolina?most of them, says NJPP?coming from Morristown. John Shure, the group?s president, called for reforms in the awarding of tax breaks that included an end to borrowing to fund the programs.
State Treasurer John McCormac responded that under the incentive programs, ?the state is simply refunding a portion of the employee withholdings generated by new jobs that companies like Verizon are bringing here. If the company wasn?t here to begin with, we wouldn?t have that money?or the corporate taxes, sales taxes and other revenue and spending that Verizon and its employees generate.?

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