From the NYT:
Late last fall, bankers from BNY Mellon went to state officials in New York and New Jersey with a proposition: The bank was planning to sell its headquarters on Wall Street and was looking for office space on either side of the Hudson River for more than 1,100 employees.
The bankers wanted to know who would cut the best deal.
In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie’s administration responded quickly with a hefty offer — nearly $100 million worth of tax credits — if the bank would move one mile west to Jersey City.
New York countered with its own incentive package that real estate executives say is worth millions of dollars if the bank remains in Lower Manhattan.
The bank is leaning toward New York, real estate executives say, but no victor has been announced and officials on both sides of the Hudson refused to discuss the high-stakes negotiations.
The tug-of-war is the latest skirmish in what is becoming a fierce competition between New York and New Jersey to heap subsidies on some of the country’s wealthiest corporations as enticements. With a struggling labor market, jobs are precious to both states, but in New Jersey there is also a political factor: Mr. Christie is widely presumed to be a contender for the Republican presidential nomination and has promoted himself nationally as a prudent financial steward.
So while offering incentives to businesses is a common practice across the country, New Jersey has been extraordinarily generous under Mr. Christie, awarding over $4 billion in subsidies — tax breaks and credits — since 2010 to JPMorgan Chase, Forbes, American Dream Meadowlands, RBC Capital and other corporations. But that also raises questions about how well Mr. Christie is managing the state’s economy, since many critics argue subsidies are an ill-advised use of taxpayer money that fail to yield significant economic benefits.
The $4 billion is also far higher than the $1.2 billion in incentives the state granted in the previous 10 years. The figures are included in a report published on Wednesday by New Jersey Policy Perspective, a liberal policy organization whose analysis was based on data from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.
Some of the subsidies went to companies already in New Jersey — Panasonic got $102.4 million to move its headquarters nine miles within the state. New York State, by comparison, has provided more modest incentives.
Mr. Christie has used every deal to trumpet his success at job creation. “JPMorgan Chase Bank’s decision to choose New Jersey exemplifies our enhanced ability to compete in the regional, national and global economy,” the Economic Development Authority said in a news release issued last month after the state’s decision to provide the bank with $224.8 million in tax credits over 10 years.
The average cost of the subsidy package has soared to $75.9 million from $10.1 million and the amount of tax forgiveness per promised job has jumped to $47,916, from $16,430, according to New Jersey Policy Perspective. Just this week, the state announced $82 million in tax breaks to the Philadelphia 76ers basketball team to move its training facility from Pennsylvania to Camden.
“We’ve never seen anything like this,” said Gordon MacInnes, the president of Policy Perspective, “where such large chunks were granted to a handful of corporations.”