|By Andrew Seidman, The Philadelphia Inquirer|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
After the 76ers landed a 10-year,
The incentives were granted under the Economic Opportunity Act of 2013, which on its face streamlined existing incentives programs. But it also included big perks for
Lawmakers passed new changes to the law last month, including one allowing the developer of a project to bring a full-service supermarket to
Of the 45 awards approved thus far under the revamped Grow New Jersey -- the incentive program that targets commercial enterprises -- 10 have gone to companies in
Offering mammoth tax incentives isn't the best use of state money, says
"It would be better if the states agreed among themselves not to compete, and put these resources into other investments that promote the long-term growth of the economy: education, infrastructure, the environment," said Seneca, a former chairman of the state
"But that's naive, because the states have intentionally competed for jobs since the founding of the country, and in the last 10 years, and even more so since the end of the recession."
The Garden State has regained less than 50 percent of the jobs it lost during the recession that ended in
The state has awarded
It wasn't always that way. When
He noted that land and labor are both cheaper in
The Assembly version of last year's bill promised more of the same, Sweeney said. So after the
New provisions specified, among other things, that of the
In addition to base tax credits, the bill said the full award could increase annually for "a marine terminal project in a municipality located outside the
That refers exclusively to the
The bill lowered eligibility thresholds for businesses in the eight
The state expects
There is no cap on the pot of money for commercial enterprise, though the
"I fought for the southern part of the state to benefit, just as the northern part of the state has benefited," Sweeney said.
Both Sweeney and State Sen.
"The reality of economic viability in
Whether residents stand to benefit is another question. The 76ers will bring 250 jobs to
The EDA says the retained jobs will be relocated from
Speaking generally of businesses that win tax credits after threatening to leave the state, Seneca asked: "Would they really have left had not they gotten the incentive?"
Said Sweeney: "This is a great example of: We're going to bring a new business in, create brand-new jobs, in a city that needs the help. I think the legislation, the end product, is working out as we expected -- jobs."
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