Dueling probes of NJ Economic Development tax incentive program

David Madden
January 26, 2019 - 4:00 am
Gov. Phil Murphy delivers his first State of the State address in Trenton, New Jersey, on Jan. 15, 2019.

Tim Larsen/NJ Governor's Office via Flickr

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GLASSBORO, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — Gov. Phil Murphy and legislative Democrats have authorized separate investigations into how $11 billion in tax incentives were authorized over several years to spur business in New Jersey.

The efforts are both aimed at getting to how many jobs really were produced through the work of the Economic Development Authority and, more importantly, did politics play more of a role in which companies got the tax breaks.

READ: Audit finds major problems in NJ economic development program 

Ben Dworkin at the Rowan Institute for Public Policy and Citizenship suggests both sides are trying to score in the court of public opinion.

“They disagree over the money that was spent and whether or not it should be considered ‘lost.' They disagree whether the process was corrupt, that is illegal,” Dworkin told KYW Newsradio. “And so the first thing we have to consider is that this legislative hearing will be a chance to get that alternative narrative into the public discussion."

One thing is clear, though, and that is it shows a deepening political rift under the Golden Dome.

“This is part of the ongoing tension between Senate President Steve Sweeney and Gov. Murphy,” Dworkin added. “But that tension has been a constant in everything that’s gone on in Trenton for the past year. So, in and of itself, that’s not particularly surprising.”