Phil Murphy backs 'once in a lifetime' Amazon proposal

Posted Jan 29, 2018

Gov. Phil Murphy.

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Gov. Phil Murphy, a staunch critic of former Gov. Chris Christie's generous tax breaks used to lure companies to the state, on Monday stepped up his support for the $7 billion tax subsidy New Jersey hopes will entice Amazon to open a headquarters in Newark.

"The answer is yes," Murphy said on CNBC Monday after asked if he was "on board" with the proposal Christie offered the company shortly before Murphy took office.

Newark is one of 20 Amazon identified as finalists for the location of the Seattle-based company's second headquarters.

"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity," Murphy said. "We think the tax element of the package is an important one."

The new governor got behind the Amazon deal three days after he took office.

Murphy was a critic of Christie's tax incentives during his campaign for governor. 

His first campaign ad blasted Christie and his then-rival, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, for "choosing the wrong side" by giving billions of dollars "in tax breaks for giant corporations."

After he won election, Murphy promised to change course at the Economic Development Authority and steer more of those incentives to small businesses in the state.

The state has offered Amazon $5 billion in tax incentives from the state and $2 billion from the city of Newark.

The state's offer includes $10,000 per job per year Amazon creates for 10 years, or $100,000 per job. Amazon has said many of these jobs will pay more than $100,000 a year.

If it earned tax credits that exceed its corporate income tax liability, it could roll those credits forward for up to 50 years to reduce future taxes. It could even sell up to $25 million in credits a year to other businesses, with the stipulation the proceeds must be spent on infrastructure improvements at its facility.

Eligible projects must generate at least 30,000 new jobs and invest at least $3 billion in developing and improving their property.

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