Measure Would Require Full Repayment when Businesses Fail to Meet Grant Requirements
Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Gilbert “Whip” Wilson, Sheila Oliver, Craig Coughlin, Marlene Caride and Benjie Wimberly to require corporations qualifying for state development subsidy grants to repay the entire amount if they fail to uphold the grant terms was advanced by an Assembly panel on Thursday.
“The intent of this legislation is to ensure that corporations hold up their end of the deal,” said Wilson (D-Camden/Gloucester). “Grant incentives encourage companies to move, build and grow here. We must make sure that they do exactly what they say they will do and fulfill the terms of the grant.”
“By offering incentives, we welcome corporations to bring their business to New Jersey,” said Oliver (D-Essex/Passaic). “More corporations who make New Jersey their home means more job opportunities and more support for families. This legislation would ensure our grant dollars are used wisely and corporations, honest.”
“This is a very simple concept – protect the investment by taxpayers,” said Coughlin (D-Middlesex). “We want to create jobs and spark economic development, but we also want to do it responsibly. This bill accomplishes both those goals.”
Under the bill’s (A-1808) provisions, if a private corporation receives a development subsidy grant issued by a public entity of the state, and the corporation fails to uphold the terms of any grant agreement with that public entity, the corporation shall refund the full amount of the grant to the public entity.
“With our job growth numbers still lagging behind other states, it’s particularly important that corporations receiving state grants live up to their promise to generate employment,” said Caride (D-Bergen/Passaic).
“Job growth remains one of our top priorities,” said Wimberly (D-Bergen/Passaic). “With state dollars being extremely tight, it’s crucial that corporations receiving grants fulfill their responsibility to the taxpayers who fund these grants.”
The public entity issuing the grant would include provisions for the refund as part of an agreement to provide a grant and may pursue an action to collect the amount of the refund plus any attorney fees and other costs of the action.
The bill provides an exemption to any grant or credit that is otherwise granted an exemption according to the law.
The measure was approved by the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee and referred to the Assembly Appropriations Committee for further consideration.