EDA approves $40M grant for Medco/Express

TRENTON – The Economic Development Authority approved a $40 million grant for a pharmacy benefits manager Tuesday.

The EDA approved a 10-year Grow New Jersey Assistance grant for Franklin Lakes-based Medco Health Solutions and Express Scripts Pharmacy Inc. Medco was acquired by St. Louis-based Express in 2012 in a $29 billion deal.

Under this grant, the business is eligible for tax credits of $6,000 a year for each new or retained full-time job.

In addition, the business agrees to make a capital investment of at least $20 million at a site where it will employ at least 100 full-time workers.

EDA Executive Director Michele Brown said the Medco mail service pharmacy plant in Willingboro is obsolete, and the company is choosing between building a new plant in Florence Township or moving to Richmond, Va.

If the company stays in New Jersey, it will agree to retain 585 jobs and add 128 new jobs as part of the grant conditions. 

In addition, the company would make a capital investment of $61.5 million.

As part of the grant approval today, Medco has to repay $6.63 million that was previously awarded under a 15-year Business Employment Incentive Program grant that led to the creation of 1,094 jobs through 2009.

“You can’t ‘double dip,’’’ Brown said, so Medco/Express has to repay the BEIP award and retire that obligation. 

The Grow NJ grant program is one of the two business incentive programs that is targeted to survive under the Economic Opportunity Act, a controversial piece of legislation that passed in the Senate this month but which some lawmakers – including some of its original backers –  hope the governor will veto because of  the substantive way they say it has been changed.

Under the EOA, the Grow NJ program will be the main job-retention grant program.

One of the conditions for receiving the grant OK today was EDA making a determination that those jobs in the application are at risk of being moved outside New Jersey. EDA approves $40M grant for Medco/Express