From the Star Ledger:
The state Legislature on Monday embraced Gov. Chris Christie’s plan to offer Amazon $100,000 per job it creates should it build its sought-after second headquarters in Newark.
New Jersey’s offer, which could total $5 billion in tax breaks, rivals some of the largest incentive packages hatched by states looking to land big businesses, and would set a record within the state.
These deals are often controversial, with governments giving away their claim to badly needed tax dollars businesses would generate otherwise. But those same tax dollars and the ancillary economic benefits wouldn’t exist at all, supporters say, if the business located somewhere else.
Here, lawmakers said the rare opportunity to compete for such a major development — Amazon predicts it will hire 50,000 workers and invest $5 billion in its new headquarters — is too big an opportunity to risk coming up short.
“When a company like Amazon is looking to invest billions and create tens of thousands of jobs, we simply cannot afford to be overlooked,” state Sen. Samuel Thompson, R-Middlesex, a bill sponsor, said in a statement. “This legislation sends the message that New Jersey is a serious contender.”
Christie’s administration has said residents stand to gain some $9 billion in economic benefits if Amazon comes.
xperts say Newark isn’t likely to be high on Amazon’s list.
Moody’s Analytics’s list of Top 10 candidates led with Austin, Texas, followed by Atlanta, Philadelphia, Rochester, N.Y., New York/Jersey City, Miami, Portland, Ore., Boston and Salt Lake City.
Newark’s bid has been criticized as too generous by those who call corporate tax breaks a race to the bottom. Christie’s administration dramatically scaled up the state’s awards to recruit and retain businesses.
State Sen. Michael Doherty, R-Warren, voted against the Amazon package, saying “New Jersey shouldn’t be in the business of picking winners and losers, nor should we give special tax breaks to a company that’s driving our mom and pop shops out of business.”