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Fifty Years is a Long Time for a Tax Break

E-mailed this morning (without the hyperlinks below) to 15th District State Senator Shirley Turner, Assemblymember Reed Gusciora and Assemblymember Elizabeth Muoio, at this link.

I take no position here today on the underlying effort to get Amazon a 50-year deal. It’s probably a bad idea, but from today’s story on NJ.com (linked below) it sounds like the fix is in to make this happen. Amazon fever has infected the whole country it seems, and a lot of Canada too. It looks like resisting that is a losing battle. What I’d like to do is limit the damages that might accrue to towns such as Trenton.

There’s no chance that Amazon will land in Trenton. The company simply is looking for more land and amenities than the City has available. But if the State revises the underlying economic incentive programs to as long as a 50-year term, the prospect that future incentive awards could screw our city for a half-century increases. I’d like to limit that chance, if possible.

If you agree, you may want to consider contacting your state Legislators, too!

Good Morning -

Today’s headlines report the initiative underway to revise the State’s corporate Tax Incentive programs – specifically the Grow NJ program – in order to entice Amazon to locate their proposed new hub in New Jersey.

I wish the State good luck in that endeavor.

I will request you to review the provisions of the Grow NJ program and the Economic Opportunity Act of 2013 and its successor bills that require “Garden State Growth Zone” municipalities – Paterson, Passaic, Trenton, and Camden – to participate in the incentives. Specifically, under current law, the Growth Zone communities provide a total local property tax abatement to qualified Grow NJ projects for a period of 10 years, phasing in increased tax levies for the value of the Grow NJ improvements at 10% a year for the following decade.

As I have expressed to you all since the 2013 EOA Act was passed 4 years ago, the four Growth Zone communities are among those in the State least able to forego desperately needed additional property tax revenues as they struggle to expand their tax base.

With today’s reporting suggesting that the current initiative may extend the life of the Grow NJ program to as much as 50 years, I am concerned that participation of the Growth Zone cities might also be similarly expanded.

You all do not need to be reminded that Trenton is in no condition to afford losingĀ  additional tax revenues for as much as a half-century. It’s hard enough to absorb a 20-year calendar!

I respectfully ask you today to represent the best interests of Trenton and the other Growth Zone towns in resisting any Administration or legislative attempt to expand local participation in any expansion of these incentives.

Also, if it may be at all possible during the legislative process to revise the underlying legislation of the Grown NJ program to entirely eliminate the participation of these towns in the program, or at least find some way to reimburse or otherwise make these communities whole, that would be very good, too!

Thank you for your representation of Trenton and the entire 15th District.

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