In the News

The Pros and Cons of EDA Largesse


September 22, 2014

As seen in this article, "In its first year, a law intended to keep and create jobs in New Jersey has steered almost a half-billion dollars in tax breaks to the tri-county area.

Much of that money helped boost big-ticket projects in Camden, an impoverished city that previously had little appeal to private employers. But a big chunk also has targeted manufacturing firms, a key component of the state's job base.

Advocates say that performance is reason to praise the Economic Opportunity Act of 2013, and to expect more gains from revisions now before the state Legislature.

Among other changes, the pending measure could bolster development incentives in Atlantic City. It also may bring changes meant to spur future projects in South Jersey, such as a proposed supermarket in Camden and a new home in Cherry Hill for Subaru of America.

'The most important feature of the new Grow NJ program is its use of a location-driven formula for calculating the incentive amount that's awarded to a business,' said Ted Zangari, a Newark real estate lawyer who helped draft model legislation for the EOA.

He noted the law provides larger incentives 'in urban centers and distressed cities, less for sites in suburban towns, and even less in rural areas.'

Zangari, the real estate attorney, acknowledged public incentives can be unpalatable to taxpayers.

'But the reality is that there are not enough jobs to go around in this country and many states, including New Jersey, are suffering under the immense weight of debts and deficits and are therefore desperate to attract and retain businesses,' he said.

'This dynamic has unleashed a border war that will not soon go away, and it would be a huge mistake for a high-cost state like New Jersey to unilaterally disarm in the middle of this jobs war.'"