HILLSIDE — Spending on business tax breaks that fail to produce public benefits must stop, according to Hillside Mayor Joseph Menza, who said New Jersey’s urban enterprise zone (UEZ) program is of seriously questionable value.
“After 30 years of trickle-down economics, where are the jobs? New Jersey’s urban enterprise zone program has failed to produce a return for taxpayers,” said Menza. “People are tired of corporate welfare programs and political slush funds, which is what the UEZ is all about.”
“New Jersey needs to spend state dollars in ways that invest in future economic growth and the well being of residents,” said Menza. “Political insiders cannot justify spending more on business subsidies, while cutting education appropriations and failing to adequately fund transportation.”
Opposing Menza’s common sense appeal for reform, is Councilman Edward Brewer Jr., a member of the regular political organization who is trying keep the ineffective UEZ program going which would protect the job of Yves F. Aubourg, another political insider who is employed as UEZ Coordinator.
Aubourg is a councilman, chairman of the finance committee, and the local political party boss in Roselle, where he resides and is also a candidate for re-election.
A report commissioned by the state Treasury Department and endorsed by the Department of Community Affairs recommended that urban enterprise zones be eliminated by the end of the year because they shift the cost of government from business to homeowners.
Brewer spoke in support of the corporate welfare program at the March 17 Union County freeholder meeting, saying, “It’s an excellent program.”
“We helped businesses in town to renovate their businesses and get more consumers to come into town,” said Brewer, who ignored the fact that unemployment in Hillside has gone from 4.5 percent in 2007 to over ten percent today, while taxpayers have lost millions of dollars to UEZ discounts for business.
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