Grow New Jersey has made news recently with a $37 million tax credit to Cablevision and almost $90 million for three Grow New Jersey projects. The program, created by the Christie administration, provides incentives to businesses that are both investing money in the state and either adding or retaining 100 jobs.
NJ Today Managing Editor Mike Schneider spoke with Caren Franzini, CEO of the New Jersey Economic Developmental Authority (NJEDA), about the recent development.
Franzini defended the $37 million tax incentive to Cablevision, saying that in return, downtown Newark will get a $67 million building with retail, parking and office space.
“If the building is built and everything goes according to plan and they keep 500 jobs in Newark, they will be eligible to get $37 million in tax credits over 10 years. But the tax credits are given out annually and we annually insure that they’re providing the services they said they would, which is keeping jobs in New Jersey.”
Grow New Jersey is providing $90 million in incentives to other projects that span a variety of businesses. Franzini says the overarching philosophy of keeping and growing jobs is what determines which companies get Grow New Jersey assistance. One of her current projects is Conair, a Central Jersey company she hopes will make a capital investment in the region.
“We’re having them decide: do they expand in New Jersey or do they expand in Arizona? So they, with this incentive, will hopefully build a new 450,00 square foot facility right in central New Jersey and create several hundreds of new jobs in the state.”
Another company she is waiting to hear from is a baking company called Amoroso which is based in Philadelphia. Amoroso, she says, partnered with two New Jersey bakery firms and are currently deciding whether to expand their plant in New Jersey or in Philadelphia. The courtship of Amoroso would not have happened if not for the Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno, says Franziini.
“The reason we found out about them is because Choose NJ, one of our partners, brought Lt. Gov. Guadagno to Philadelphia to meet with some companies whose leases were expiring. The lieutenant governor met with them. As a result of that meeting, we sent out an offer letter to the company saying what great things we have to offer in New Jersey. Because of the visit, because of the letter, because of working together in a partnership, we then approved an actual incentive to have that move happen in our state.”
Franzini touts the state’s current business climate for retaining companies and luring new ones, citing the Amazon deal, which she says, could create 1500 new jobs.
“So I’m very upbeat that we definitely have the wherewithal, we have the new tax structure in the state that’s friendly to businesses. We have a friendly, common sense regulatory environment. So we’re having companies that are now calling us up saying ‘come talk with us we’re interested in New Jersey.’”