BUSINESS & ECONOMY

Unlikely forces join to denounce NJ tax incentives for Amazon HQ2

BY Michael Hill, Correspondent |

For the first time, New Jersey Policy Perspective from the left and Americans for Prosperity New Jersey from the right have teamed up to oppose the proposal offered to Amazon, that is some $7 billion in incentives to attract the company and its so-called 50,000 high paying jobs to New Jersey.

“This bid reflects everything that’s wrong with New Jersey’s tax breaks or bust approach to economic development. It rigs the system. It enriches those who are already doing quite well. It distorts the tax code. It costs taxpayers billions of dollars and it’s the kind of gimmicky politically driven approach that has failed to grow New Jersey’s economy or produce real results for the state’s working families time and time again,” said Jon Whiten, vice president of New Jersey Policy Perspective.

“I think if you’re looking at just the weight on small business owners. It’s like if they’re already running in a race and they already have a 10-pound weight on while the state of New Jersey is going to put on another 20 pounds on their back just because of the poor tax and regulatory climate in New  Jersey,” said Erica Jedynak, state director of Americans for Prosperity of New Jersey.

“Instead of having these handouts, the tax base should be broadened to include these firms and tax rates should be lowered for all. The fact is tax cronyism is poison to the economy,” said legislative analyst for the American Legislative Exchange Council Thurston Powers.

“They want a submission that addresses transportation. If we’re not fully funding our commitment to NJ Transit, if we will inevitably have some type of closure partial of the trans Hudson tunnels for repair because we won’t have the Gateway done, how are we even remotely living up to their expectation that we will be creating a site that has transportation connectivity? If you’re telling somebody, ‘Come to Newark because it’s easy to get into Manhattan, oh, but by the way you can’t get there,’ that underscores the fallacy of this whole point,” said Assemblyman John Wisniewski.

“With a proposal like this and $7 billion in tax breaks, we’re acting as if we’re South Dakota. We’re begging companies to come here. We’ve got a lot of other reasons for companies to want to be here,” said Whiten.

The governor contends the prospect of landing some 50,000 high paying jobs and a corporation as big as Amazon makes offering the incentives well worth it. But, to critics of the proposal, the idea of reforming the tax code in New Jersey is a much better way to go.