Murphy touts his new plan for EDA tax breaks

David Madden
June 06, 2019 - 5:00 am
Gov. Phil Murphy

Edwin J. Torres/Governor’s Office via Flickr

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CHERRY HILL, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy used a visit to Cherry Hill to outline his plan to revamp a program that grants tax breaks through the Economic Development Authority (EDA). 

The program is due to expire at the end of the month and has turned into a major battle between the governor and fellow Democrats in charge of the New Jersey Legislature.

Murphy insists this isn’t about whether to offer tax incentives.

"It’s not about 'do we' or 'don’t we,' " he told supporters at 1776, a small co-working space, "but about, 'how do we do it better?' "

He seeks to do that by sharing the wealth with more people and communities, rather than a few chosen entities with political connections, and making sure there’s a better return on the state’s investment.

"From 2010 to 2018, New Jersey paid five times more than our peer states for every job created or retained, yet attracted five times less capital investment per incentive dollar we gave out," the governor added.

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There are doubts about companies meeting their job creation goals. The battle has gotten personal, in a lot of ways, with Murphy’s concerns leading to a lawsuit filed by South Jersey political power broker George Norcross. 

Murphy eluded to the growing tension with Democrats loyal to Norcross in his remarks.

"Economic growth can’t just be about helping a select few and the politically connected," he said, "but about offering a helping hand to the new ideas being brought to market and in reigniting more broadly New Jersey’s startup culture."

The governor’s plan sets up five different ways to provide incentives — not just to lure companies from elsewhere or keep them in the state, but to grow small businesses already in place and spur development of innovative ideas going forward. 

Without naming names, Murphy called on legislative leadership to "speak not in breathless and accusatory tones, but in respectful terms" to get a new program done.