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Senate President Steve Sweeney. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Sweeney forms his own EDA task force

New Senate Special Committee for Economic Growth will review past economic development programs

By David Wildstein, May 09 2019 3:45 pm

Senate President Steve Sweeney has formed a Special Committee for Economic Growth that is expected to counterbalance Gov. Murphy’s Task Force on the Economic Development Authority’s Tax Incentives.

“There are valuable lessons to be learned from the success of economic growth initiatives that have helped turn around once-struggling cities in different regions of New Jersey,” said Sweeney. “We need to do a constructive analysis of what has worked so that the gains are not lost in those communities and to develop an effective strategy to help other cities and towns. We should not allow misguided criticisms of existing programs to cripple the state’s ability to foster future economic growth.”

The new panel – Sweeney has not yet named the senators who will serve on it – will review past economic development initiatives.

Senate sources say that the committee might also review the activities of the EDA task force, which critics claim is being politicized by the Murphy administration.  He promised that the committee will seek a true accounting of the costs and returns on investments by the state.

Sweeney pointed out past “success stories” in Camden, Atlantic City, New Brunswick, Newark and Jersey City, where state-sponsored incentive programs have played a critical role in local revitalization efforts.

It is not immediately known if the Assembly will join Sweeney.

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