More Corporate Subsidies, More Jobs?

STATE – Last week, Gov. Chris Christie signed the “Grow New Jersey” bill into law, touting it as a measure that would create and retain New Jersey jobs. The GrowNJ Assistance Program offers tax credits to businesses that make significant capital investments and create or retain at least 100 full-time jobs.

“Through the creation of GrowNJ, we are ensuring that critical economic development projects are moving forward and that businesses are staying, growing and creating jobs for New Jerseyans,” Christie said. “Expanding the reach of these job-creating incentives will put people to work now in construction jobs and create long-term, permanent jobs for our families.

“Incentive programs designed to grow New Jersey companies who retain and create new jobs is a smart approach,” said Assemblyman Herb Conaway (D-Burlington/Camden), a sponsor of the legislation. “Targeted incentives like this will strengthen New Jersey’s economy and build a stronger middle class.”

Deborah Howlett, the president of the non-profit, non-partisan New Jersey Policy Perspective group, cast doubt on the benefit of the “Grow New Jersey” bill for Garden State taxpayers.

“Few states in recent years have gone as far as New Jersey in offering tax subsidies to corporations in an attempt to spur job creation,” she writes. “The state has awarded more than $1.2 billion in tax subsidies through four major programs with the promise of tens of thousands of new jobs. That hasn’t happened.”

New Jersey’s unemployment rate remains at 9.1 percent according to the most recent figures, even as the national unemployment rate dipped to 8.5 percent in December, its lowest level in nearly three years.

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