Home>Governor>Murphy says he got EDA task force report at 9:52 pm Monday

Gov. Phil Murphy. Photo by Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe

Murphy says he got EDA task force report at 9:52 pm Monday

Governor restates pledge to veto extensions of troubled tax incentive programs

By Nikita Biryukov, June 18 2019 3:52 pm

Editor’s Note: This article was updated with comment from Darryl Isherwood at 1:01 p.m.

Gov. Phil Murphy said he did not receive a report drafted by the task force he convened to investigate abuses of tax incentives meted out by the Economic Development Authority until hours after it was made public Monday.

“I did not,” Murphy said when asked if he or his staff were given a copy of the report in advance. “I got it sent after it went public last night. I had a copy delivered to my home at 9:52 [p.m.]”

Jim Walden, an attorney for the task force, sent the report to the press at 7:20 p.m., shortly after Mercer County Court Assignment Judge Mary Jacobson denied a request by South Jersey kingmaker George Norcross seeking an injunction to bar the release of the report.

Darryl Isherwood, a spokesperson for the task force, said the report was sent to the front office, Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin before it was sent to reporters Monday.

There was little new information in the report, with most of its 79 pages devoted to information that was already made public during either of its two public hearings, though there were a few select, previously-unreleased emails that shed new light on potential abuses by firms with ties to Norcross.

Currently, the legislature is advancing extensions of for two troubled EDA incentive programs due to sunset at the end of June.

Both chambers are slated to vote on those extensions on Thursday.

Murphy has repeatedly said he would veto those extensions if they were not bundled with reforms to the programs, though he’s been less clear on what reforms he is seeking.

A separate bill eliminating carveouts added to the bill by Kevin Sheehan, an attorney at Parker McCay, which is owned by Philip Norcross, has been introduced in the both chambers, though neither has been put up for a vote.

The carveouts were often so specific that they could only refer to discrete locations in Camden.

“My team and I are still poring through the report, but let’s be clear about a couple of things: We are not just dealing with a broken system. This is a rigged system,” Murphy said. “This was designed by special interests to benefit special interests. It allowed hundreds of millions of dollars to flow to insiders based on misleading, false, omitted or fabricated information.”

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