The following editorial by Senator Sam Thompson (R-12), a member of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee, was published by the Asbury Park Press:
Legislators and the Asbury Park Press in recent weeks have called for a greater transparent comparative analysis of the success of New Jersey’s tax incentive and economic development programs. I agree that there is a fiscal responsibility to review the cost and success of the state’s economic and business development programs and believe it’s equally important that there be greater analysis of how New Jersey’s incentives, taxes and business policies stack up against competing states.
Sen. Sam Thompson discusses Senate Republican efforts to analyze state tax policy in this editorial published by the Asbury Park Press. (SenateNJ.com)
The Legislature has the opportunity to achieve these goals by passing Senate Republican solutions to ensure proper scrutiny and analysis of New Jersey’s tax policies, incentive programs and overall business climate.
The Senate Republican leadership team recently culminated the rollout of a 36-bill economic growth and job creation bill package, including a series of bills to increase the employment and economic development data that’s available to state policy makers. None of these bills will cost taxpayers any extra money.
Included in those bills, many of which have already garnered bipartisan support, is legislation I sponsor to improve data collection, analysis and employment information within the state Economic Development Authority to better New Jersey’s economic development strategies. Senate Bill 2761 will consolidate research in one place to improve our economic development decisions throughout state government.
My Senate Republican colleagues also sponsor and are working to pass Senate Bill 2708, sponsored by Sen. Steven Oroho, to study and compare the effects of New Jersey’s tax policies and tax incentive programs to those in other states. By establishing the “Business Tax and Incentive Task Force,” this bipartisan legislation will provide greater information as to whether the state’s tax incentive programs are successful and insight as to how the state’s tax policies stack up against those of competing states. This information will provide a clear picture of what else needs to be done to help retain and attract more businesses and jobs in communities across the state.
Additional Senate Republican legislation sponsored by Sen. Anthony Bucco that’s also garnered bipartisan support will for the first time require the state to survey businesses that leave New Jersey or downsize about the factors that went into that decision. Under Senate Bill 2710, the information collected in the anonymous surveys, would be compiled into an annual report that would be published and submitted to the governor and the legislature.
Hearing first-hand from employers who decide to move a company elsewhere or layoff employees about the factors unique to New Jersey that forced that decision to be made will provide invaluable insight into what can be done to prevent future job losses.
A fourth Senate Republican solution sponsored by Sen. Jennifer Beck would create the “New Jersey Business Advisory Council” to recommend job-creating ideas to the state Economic Development Authority, the Legislature and the governor. Under the now bipartisan Senate Bill 2709 the council, comprised of volunteer business representatives from throughout the state and various economic sectors, would provide the EDA with insight on the state’s business climate and what employers need to grow and expand here.
Collectively, this legislation provides a unique opportunity to increase the amount of economic development and employment data and research that’s available so that policy makers can make the most informed decisions possible in developing strategies to attract and retain businesses and jobs in New Jersey.
As this healthy debate about the importance of better understanding the success of New Jersey’s tax incentive policies continues, I urge Senate Democratic leaders to join Republicans in pushing these bills forward.