Audit faults NJ agency for lack of tax credit oversight

Posted: Updated:
TRENTON -

A new state audit says that the New Jersey agency responsible for awarding billions of dollars in tax credits if companies created or retained jobs failed to determine if those benchmarks were met.

The state comptroller's office released the audit Wednesday, as required by Gov. Phil Murphy's executive order.

The audit sampled just over 10 percent of the 401 companies that were approved for $11 billion in tax credits by the Economic Development Authority going back to 2005.

It says the authority lacked "internal controls" to monitor and oversee the performance of incentive recipients. About $8 billion in credits were approved under Republican Gov. Chris Christie.

“By the end of the last administration we were giving out corporate tax incentives to the tune of more than $160,000 per job claimed to have been created or retained,” Murphy said. “It wasn't an element in the toolbox. It wasn't one tool in the broader economic strategy. It was the entire strategy. And that, even if it is properly monitored, and it clearly wasn’t, is a recipe for failure.”

Incentives established by law in 2013 under Christie expire June 30.

Murphy says he wants appropriate "guardrails" added to any potential new program. His economic plan includes a package of five new incentive programs.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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