Reaction to CV of Economic Opportunity Act: Cheers from NJBIA; jeers from NJPP

TRENTON – Reaction to the conditional veto of the Economic Opportunity Act – which faces a concurrence vote in the Assembly today – focused on what was removed from the bill.

The N.J. Policy Perspective, a left-leaning non-profit organization, took issue with the fact Gov. Chris Christie red-lined prevailing wage clauses for maintenance personnel.

“There were plenty of ways the governor could have used his veto pen to make this reform of New Jersey’s business tax subsidy programs stronger, smarter and more effective,” President Gordon MacInnes said in a release.

“Instead, he used his veto power to remove one of the few positive elements of the legislation: a prevailing wage standard that would have ensured that the New Jersey tax dollars invested in these subsidy projects help a wider array of workers. What the governor has done is take a bad piece of legislation and make it even worse.”

NJPP criticized the EOA for several reasons, including a lack of a cap on the amount of money that can be awarded and eliminating a ban on subsidies to retail companies if they exceed 150,000 square feet.

In addition, NJPP criticized what it sees as many loopholes that will allow some companies to evade requirements such as ensuring the jobs created are full time with health benefits.

“The overhaul bill creates loopholes to get around these requirements in specific situations, creating an uneven playing ground among subsidy-seeking companies and a state policy that rewards the creation of low-quality jobs,” NJPP said.

However, NJPP did praise some aspects of the bill.  For instance, NJPP applauded the fact the bill addresses a long-time complaint from some critics that previous grant programs rewarded companies that said they intend to relocate employees out of state, get large subsidies, then move “next door,’’ down the road to an adjacent town. 

However, the N.J. Business and Industry Association cheered the CV.

“Governor Chris Christie’s conditional veto of the Economic Opportunity Act addresses a number of important concerns and will advance the goal of making New Jersey more economically competitive,” said BIA President Philip Kirschner today in a release.

“The business community urges legislators to support the Governor’s recommendations and approve this critical piece of legislation as soon as possible.” The Assembly will take up the concurrence of the CV today. 

“The competition for private-sector jobs is extremely intense regionally, nationally and globally.  This bill creates two very attractive incentive programs that will become the critical tools that New Jersey can use to not only compete for those jobs and investments, but to win those battles. 

“I commend the sponsors of this bill for their dedication and perseverance on this issue.  They and the Governor have worked very hard together, and NJBIA deeply appreciates their efforts.” 

Reaction to CV of Economic Opportunity Act: Cheers from NJBIA; jeers from NJPP