Clean Water Action Opposes Rushed Corporate Tax Giveaway

Thursday, December 17, 2020
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Trenton: Clean Water Action released this response to the announced agreement between Governor Murphy, Senate President Steven Sweeney, and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin on the economic plan recovery and tax incentives reform legislation: 

Clean Water Action is appalled by the sudden release of the massive $11.5 billion corporate tax subsidies bill and the undemocratic rush to shove it down the public’s throat during the holidays in the middle of the pandemic. The fast tracked timeline, $11.5 billion giveaway in 3 business days, does not allow for any meaningful input or vetting by the public. The people of New Jersey deserve an opportunity to weigh in before corporations are handed billions of dollars in tax breaks.

New Jersey had a troubled budget *before* the pandemic devastated our economy and strained local budgets. The strategy of doling out huge handouts to wealthy corporations in the hope that some trickled down to working families was not working when Governor Murphy rightly pressed pause on the incentives programs in 2019, and there is no reason to think it will work now. While the governor claims that caps on the programs are a positive and hard-won reform, the caps are set so high as to be meaningless. The state will continue its 2019 pace of foregoing billions of dollars of tax revenue when we can least afford to do so. 

We had high hopes that Governor Murphy would more fundamentally rethink our state’s approach to economic development by prioritizing investments in programs that make our state cleaner and healthier for all of our residents while at the same time making New Jersey more attractive to potential new large employers and industries. We should be making investments in repairing our crumbling infrastructure and mass transit systems, so workers can reliably commute. We should be electrifying our transportation sector and supporting community based clean energy programs so we can bring quality jobs and cleaner air to environmental justice communities. We should be fixing failing drinking water systems and identifying and replacing lead pipes so that New Jersey’s children can grow up to be future innovators. Instead, this legislation will continue to starve New Jersey’s budget of needed revenue.

The fate of $11.5 billion in potential lost revenue should NOT be decided without meaningful public input. The press, advocacy organizations, and policy experts must be given more than a few days to review a proposal of this scale and to offer feedback. New Jersey can not afford to get this wrong.

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Since our founding during the campaign to pass the landmark Clean Water Act in 1972, Clean Water Action has worked to win strong health and environmental protections by bringing issue expertise, solution-oriented thinking and people power to the table.


Eric Benson