Gov. Phil Murphy again suggested he and lawmakers are “close” to a deal on New Jersey’s next set of economic incentives.
“We think we’re close. We’ve had very constructive conversations with the Legislature and their teams,” Murphy told reporters Thursday at the New Jersey League of Municipalities convention in Atlantic City.
“But it’s time to get this over the goal line. There’s too much at stake,” he added.
The state’s two incentive programs – the Grow New Jersey corporate tax breaks and Economic Redevelopment and Growth gap financing grants – expired on July 1 after Murphy declined to sign a bill extending them until January.
Both have fallen under intense scrutiny over whether they were effective, whether they were crafted to benefit politically connected businesses and individuals, and whether the Economic Development Authority levied proper oversight, if any at all, on the programs.
Lesniak’s proposal would continue ERG and Grow NJ, but would cap individual projects and not the programs as a whole — the governor’s main reason for his opposition to the bill. Meanwhile, Murphy’s bill calls for NJ Forward – capped at $200 million a year – to replace Grow NJ, and NJ Aspire to replace ERG and be capped at $100 million.
Both versions of the bill include some version of Murphy’s proposed Innovation Evergreen Fund, under which the state and venture capitalists would split the costs of financing start-ups. Each also incorporates heightened oversight from the EDA for both programs.