TAX CREDITS: TOO HIGH A PRICE TO ATTRACT COMPANIES, KEEP THEM IN NEW JERSEY?
OCTOBER 26, 2015
Companies and critics explore the pros and cons — and costs — of incentives used to convince corporations not to move out of state
When Panasonic was seeking a new location for its corporate headquarters after four decades in Secaucus, moving to downtown Newark was not the original plan, according to chief executive officer Joe Taylor.
Offices in San Diego, Chicago, and Atlanta were all under consideration, but after intense lobbying from politicians here — and the enticement of an $80 million state economic-development tax incentive — Taylor decided to keep the company and its 1,000 employees in New Jersey, choosing to relocate in downtown Newark.
Now, Taylor said 60 percent of the company’s employees are taking the train to work, meaning their cars are off New Jersey’s already choked and potholed highways. Panasonic also has an agreement with city government to give local residents a first crack at job openings.
“I’m a huge proponent of economic development,” Taylor said while participating in a panel discussion during NJ Spotlight on Cities, a daylong conference held earlier this month at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark that focused on the state of New Jersey’s cities.
“I think tax credits are critically important,” he said. “I think other kinds of credits are critically important.”