N.J. agency asks tax break recipients for more information after allegations of abuse

The N.J. Economic Development Authority has the power to reduce, suspend, or terminate tax breaks if companies misled regulators on their applications.

Holtec International building

The exterior of a Holtec International facility in Camden, N.J., is shown Tuesday, June 18, 2019. (Matt Rourke/AP Photo)

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority has asked for more information from six companies that received state tax breaks, including several that a task force found may have misled regulators on their applications.

State officials want “to afford the companies the opportunity to respond in writing to a range of recent developments, including last week’s report from the Task Force on NJEDA Incentives and a recent legal settlement,” the authority said in a press release Wednesday morning.

The task force, convened by Gov. Phil Murphy, found that some companies may have falsely claimed in their applications for state tax incentives that they were considering moving out of state when they had no intention to do so.

The EDA has the power to reduce, suspend, or terminate tax breaks if companies misled regulators on their applications or are out of compliance with their agreements.

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Five of the companies that were sent letters have ties to South Jersey Democratic power broker George Norcross, who has criticized the task force.

Norcross recently sued Murphy to stop what he called an unconstitutional investigation into the state’s tax incentives, but a state judge let the task force continue. Its next meeting is July 9.

Conner, Strong, & Buckelew; The Michaels Organization; NFI; Cooper Health System; and Holtec International — all of which have ties to Norcross — have come under scrutiny for information provided on their applications for state tax incentives.

Teva Pharmaceuticals, which in July accepted a $40 million tax incentive to move to New Jersey, is now the subject of a lawsuit brought by New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and other states over generic drug price-fixing.

The six companies account for more than $580 million in corporate taxes excused in return for retaining or creating jobs in New Jersey.

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