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The Senate Select Committee on Economic Growth with hold a hearing on Monday to discuss the future of tax incentive programs in New Jersey, with former State Sens. Raymond Lesniak (D-Elizabeth) and Joseph Kyrillos (R-Middletown) heading the list of those the panel will hear from.
Also set to testify are two former officials of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, CEO Tim Sullivan and Chairman Larry Downes.
“We want to get a fair and true accounting of the successes and shortcomings of the state’s tax incentive programs so that we can determine how they can be improved and how we can develop broader strategies for economic growth,” said State Sen. Bob Smith (D-Piscataway), the chairman of the committee. “This is especially important now that the two EDA programs have expired, and the state is without a flagship incentive program to attract businesses and create jobs. We want to engage in a productive and open-minded assessment, so we know how to move forward. We won’t hesitate to be critical, but we want to emphasize constructive criticism that can be used for productive purposes.”
The committee will also hear from a business panel that includes Thomas Bracken or the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, Andrew Musick of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, Christina Renna of the South Jersey Chamber of Commerce, and Tony Russo of the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey.
Former state Commissioner of Labor AJ Sabath of the New Jersey Building Trades and Mike Travistino of the Association of Construction Contractors will be part of a construction panel appearing before the panel.
“I look forward to getting started with this important review of our economic development programs and how to improve them. We all wish we did not need tax incentives to attract and retain businesses to New Jersey, but the reality is that most states, including our neighbors, heavily utilize them. With New Jersey’s current uncompetitive business tax structure, they are an unfortunate necessity,” said State Sen. Joseph Pennacchio (R-Montville), the committee’s vice chair. “We need to keep a watchful eye on them to ensure they are justified, well-managed, and get the most bang for the buck for our taxpayers. My colleagues on this select committee will work on a bipartisan basis to improve their effectiveness, transparency, and accountability.”
Pennacchio replaces State Sen. Bob Singer (R-Lakewood), who dropped off the panel.