TRENTON – Senator Shirley K. Turner today said New Jersey should require firms who receive subsidies and tax incentives to pay back the money if they fail to uphold commitments to create jobs and remain in the State.
“We’re the stewards of taxpayers’money, so we really have to hold these companies accountable,” said Senator Turner. “I don’t blame the firms for taking advantage of the system. I don’t expect them to bite hands that keep feeding them. The problem is that when the feast is over, they leave for another state.”
The Democratic lawmaker said final legislative action is needed on her bill, S-1213, to force companies who don’t fulfill promises of jobs creation and longevity of operations in New Jersey to pay back whatever subsidies they received.
“Look at the way (Cable Channel) MSNBC took over $8 million in development subsidies and tax incentives from New Jersey and now they’re heading across the (Hudson) River to New York,” she said.
MSNBC recently announced it was moving from its Secaucus-based facility and taking more than 400 New Jersey jobs to New York City later this year, five years ahead of its original 15-year commitment and just months after its state grants are scheduled to expire.
“It’s all well and good to be told we’re an attractive place to set up shop, but we need more than a flirtation in return for our financial assistance,” Senator Turner said. “We don’t need to hear the word, ‘forever,’ but creating good jobs takes time so we would like to get a commitment.”
The main improvement to our current system should entail requirements that projected job creation figures and time commitments be fulfilled, Senator Turner said.
“If we keep giving without getting back, our investment strategy will become another bad joke about New Jersey,” Senator Turner said.
MSNBC, the cable channel affiliate of NBC Television, is now seeking another $1.5 million subsidy from the New York Industrial Development Authority.
“Like good shepherds, we should nurture our corporate stock in the competitive market place,” Senator Turner said. “But like good parents, we should ensure there will be consequences for failing to keep commitments.”
Senator Turner said the Assembly should act on her bill which passed the Senate last June, was released by the Assembly Labor Committee last month and now sits in the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee.
“We want to experience lasting relationships, not fleeting encounters,” Senator Turner said. Our investments should further real economic development and lasting jobs, not feel-good setups that feed off our goodwill before going elsewhere.”
Senator Turner also noted that the current system enables companies to effectively get paid twice by tapping into another state’s subsidy program.
“That’s just not right,” she said.