N.J. ranks 24th in oversight of corporate subsidies: national report

TRENTON – Good Jobs First, a nonprofit research center based in Washington, D.C., released the details of a report today that graded New Jersey in the middle of the pack countrywide on corporate subsidy oversight.

According to the group, many of the state’s economic development programs require “little – if any – job creation and lack proper wage and benefit standards.”

Overall, New Jersey was graded “D+” on five major subsidy programs, scoring 39 on a scale of 100, according to the study, “Money for Something: Job Creation and Job Quality Standards in State Economic Development Subsidy Programs” (link: http://www.goodjobsfirst.org/moneyforsomething), published by Good Jobs First.

“With unemployment still so high, taxpayers have a right to expect that economic development investments create significant numbers of quality jobs,” says Good Jobs First executive director Greg LeRoy. “The days of ‘no strings attached’ are largely gone, but the fine print in many states is still full of gaps and loopholes.”

New Jersey’s program with the “most stringent job-creation standards,” according to the study, is the Economic Development Authority’s Business Employment Incentive Program (C+, 63 of 100).

“Over the past two years, New Jersey has thrown subsidies at companies, but the plan hasn’t succeeded in creating many new jobs. As a result, our state is lagging behind the rest of the country,” according to N.J. Policy Perspective President Deborah Howlett, who partnered with the organization on the release of the study. “We need to hold these programs to a higher standard to help ensure subsidy programs actually do what they are designed to do: create jobs and improve our state economy.”

The report recommends barring employers from shifting existing jobs from other facilities and requiring retention of new jobs for a minimum period; requiring that minimum wage standards are met for every job or training position in a subsidized facility; and offering health care coverage in which the employer contributes to the cost of the premium.

On these issues, the state is falling short of these recommendations, the group said in a press release.

N.J. ranks 24th in oversight of corporate subsidies: national report