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Poor Grade For NJ Subsidy Programs [AUDIO]

Chris Hondros, Getty Images

At least its not an F. According to a national report card from Good Jobs First, New Jersey gets a grade of D+ for five of its major subsidy programs, scoring only 39 on a scale of 100. New Jerseys program with the most stringent job-creation standards, the Business Employment Incentive Program, ranks the best of the five with a C+ and a score of 63. If the states other subsidy programs had the same safeguards, New Jersey would be among the top ten states in the country. Instead, it ranks 24th.

Over the past two years, New Jersey has thrown subsidies at companies, but the plan hasn’t succeeded in creating many jobs, says Deborah Howlett, president of New Jersey Policy Perspective.

The states that scored highest in the survey are the states that had greater accountability for taxpayer money. They were more stringent in how that money was delivered, and more vigilant about delivering jobs that were promised.

Howlett says of New Jersey, The state has made a decision…to devote a billion and a half dollars of public resources to private enterprise…If you’re going to make that heavy of an investment, the private corporations you’re giving this money to should have to deliver on the jobs that they promise.

The state currently relies almost entirely on self-reporting by corporations. NJPP recommends against that.

There should be some auditing mechanism, whether its through the state comptroller or somebody else, Howlett suggests.

NJPP also believes no subsidy money should be delivered until proof of job creation is delivered. That policy is in place with the Business Employment Incentive Program, but not in the states other major subsidy programs.

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