The State Legislature’s top Democrat said he would only support a proposal backed by Gov. Phil Murphy to cap corporate tax breaks “if it makes sense.”
“We weren’t capping Amazon, were we?” Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-3rd District, said in an interview with several media outlets.
Murphy’s budget calls for a series of tax and economic incentive programs – capped at a total of $400 million a year – to replace the outgoing Christie-era Grow New Jersey tax breaks and the Economic Redevelopment and Growth program.
The governor frequently cites a January audit by the state comptroller which suggested that the Economic Development Authority exercised little oversight of the $11 billion of tax breaks awarded between 2005 and 2017, making it difficult for the state to determine if recipients actually delivered on their promised economic benefits.
But Murphy’s focus on the tax incentives, according to Sweeney, has not shown “how much money we did actually benefit from [tax credits], from job creation.”
“There is a plus on all of those things,” Sweeney said.
“We’ve got to develop a plan to ensure that if we make investments, that we get good returns, and if it makes sense to cap it … that’s what we’ll do,” he added.
Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, D-19th District, have formed a legislative committee tasked with scouting out ideas for New Jersey’s new economic incentives. The committee was scheduled to hold its next meeting on March 8. In February, the committee heard from EDA Chief Executive Tim Sullivan and Chairman Laurence Downes.