RAHWAY – Democrat James Devine said the biggest company in town is preparing to leave and City Hall is facilitating the departure, which could have a significant economic impact.
“Merck is knocking down buildings but instead of fighting to keep the largest taxpayer here, uncaring politicians in City Hall are helping them pack,” said Devine. “We need to send a message encouraging Merck to not only remain, but return to its tradition of being a good neighbor.”
Devine said irresponsible politicians gave Merck a one-third tax reduction and passed the costs on to struggling homeowners.
“This company changed its culture during the last decade,”said Devine. “It has gone from one that contributed to the community and supported American values to the archetypal greedy global corporation that cheats consumers and dodges its responsibility to pay taxes.”
Devine said officials are not powerless to stop Merck from leaving, but the city’s current leadership does appear impotent in the face of a potential crisis.
“Rahway cannot afford to wait for bad news,” said Devine. “The time to act is before decisions are made that will harm our city.”
Devine said he would appeal to Merck using sound business logic, appeals to loyalty and the threat of action that would make a departure less likely.
“Government has enormous power to compel enforcement of environmental regulations, the right to use eminent domain and other ways to convince a company to act responsibly,” said Devine. “City Hall must not approach Merck from a position of weakness if we want a desirable outcome. There are smart ways to get what we need.”
Devine said local officials should team up with state and federal representatives, as well as other business interests, to develop a basis for negotiating with the global drug manufacturer.
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