The task force Gov. Phil Murphy appointed to examine the state’s corporate tax break program scheduled its fourth hearing for Oct. 17 to focus on “issues with certain tax incentive applications” and problems with state oversight of the program.
The meeting will be the first since a judge threw out a suit filed by several subjects of the task force – businesses with close ties to South Jersey political powerbroker George Norcross – aimed at ending the panel’s efforts.
Proponents of the Grow New Jersey tax incentive program, such as former Gov. Chris Christie and Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-3rd District, have derided the task force’s work. Sweeney put together his own legislative committee tasked with reworking the state’s economic development incentives.
It is not clear which applications the task force will scrutinize. The New York Times recently reported that at least a dozen companies threatened to move to the same Rockland County, N.Y. office tower as part of their applications for more than $100 million in tax breaks. The companies had no intention of moving, according to the Times.
Grow New Jersey, which awarded over $4 billion since it was enacted in 2013, expired in July. Murphy vetoed legislation that would have extended the program just before Labor Day.
Murphy appointed the task force in January following a state comptroller’s report that found holes in the Economic Development Authority’s oversight of the program. The panel has focused on whether businesses with close ties to Norcross may have unfairly won large tax breaks for staying in or moving to Camden.
At the Oct. 17 meeting, the task force will focus on the EDA’s efforts to reform its oversight of the incentives, according to its counsel, Walden Macht & Haran LLP.