Economic Development Authority President Tim Lizura can still rattle off the stats:
“That was a good day,” Lizura recalled.
It was, in fact, the type of day so many had in mind a year ago this week when Gov. Chris Christie signed the Economic Opportunity Act of 2013 into law.
EO13, as it’s known, was the long-desired overhaul and streamlining of the state’s incentives offerings — one that turned five complicated and confusing programs into just two: the Grow New Jersey and Economic Redevelopment and Growth programs.
And while Lizura will point to that day in May and others — and note the roughly $1.4 billion in tax credit awards to date — as measures of the bill’s success, he’ll be the first to admit that EO13 isn’t perfect.
“We all acknowledge that it’s not particularly straightforward,” Lizura said. “It’s more complicated than we probably would have liked.”
It still has its detractors — unnecessary corporate welfare, they say.
And while Lizura admits the EDA can still do a better job of explaining what it does to the public — see the fallout from the much-maligned and misunderstood $82 million approved award to the Philadelphia 76ers — days such as May 16 tell him EO13 is doing what it was intended.