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No. 9: Tim Sullivan

Power 100

Tim Sullivan, CEO of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.

Sullivan will be the major driver behind Gov. Phil Murphy’s effort to make New Jersey the “state of innovation” by attracting startups and small businesses to the state.

The former banking executive has been a cheerleader for Murphy’s proposed economic incentives scheme, aimed at replacing the Grow New Jersey tax breaks and the Economic Redevelopment and Growth gap financing program. Both are Christie-era programs set to expire this year.

With Murphy criticizing those tax credits and vowing an end to them come July 1, Sullivan will wield considerable influence in Trenton as lawmakers set out to fashion the next generation of tax credits.

Despite Sullivan’s support of Murphy’s tax incentive proposals,  he along with Laurence Downes, chairman of the EDA’s board, have expressed skepticism toward a January audit suggesting that the EDA exercised little oversight of the $11 billion of tax breaks it awarded between 2005 and 2017, making it hard to determine whether recipients delivered on their promised economic activity.

The two heads of the EDA have criticized the methodology of the report. Downes’ criticism of the audit has been cited by Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-3rd District, who wants to see Grow NJ largely intact.

Whatever finally emerges, Sullivan’s EDA will administer the programs, putting him at the center of development efforts around the state.

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