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Senate Passes Economic Opportunity Act
Date : Mon, 19 Aug 2013 14:39:07 -0400
For Immediate Release
August 19, 2013
Contact: Jeff Tittel, NJ Sierra Club, 609-558-9100
Senate Passes Economic Opportunity Act
Today the Senate approved a major giveaway of tax payer dollars that
targets some of the most environmentally sensitive areas in the
state.The Economic Opportunity Act S2583A3680 (LesniakCoutinho)
passed 30-4 with 4 abstentions.The bill has now passed both houses and
will go to the Governor's desk.The bill would provide tax incentives to
develop environmentally sensitive areas, critical areas for water
supply, and last remaining open spaces, including farmland, the
Highlands and the Pinelands.This bill will take economic growth, jobs,
and housing opportunities away from existing cities, towns, and suburban
areas and subsidize them on our last remaining open spaces, threatening
our water supply and increasing flooding.
"This bill is the great land rush of 2013.It is giving away millions of
acres of environmentally sensitive lands to polluters and developers and
paving over our farmlands and forests," said Jeff Tittel, Director of
the Sierra Club. "This nothing but pay to pave. Politically connected
developers are getting public subsidies to destroy environmentally
sensitive areas and threaten our water supply.This is crony capitalism
at its worst."
Amendments have made the bill slightly less bad but the bill still targets:
• _Pinelands_villages and towns like Chatsworth and Tabernacle,
There are loopholes big enough to run bulldozers through for development
State Planning Area (PA) 4A, PA 4B _Environmentally Sensitive
Farmland_ and PA 5 _Environmentally Sensitive_
"This bill threatens some of the most environmentally sensitive areas
left in New Jersey.This will promote sprawl in places like the
Highlands, Pinelands, and our last remaining open spaces," said Jeff
Tittel. "This nothing but pay to pave. Politically connected developers
are getting public subsidies to destroy environmentally sensitive areas
and threaten our water supply.This is capitalism at its worst."
The bill would subsidize development in some of the most important areas
of the state for water supply- next to reservoirs, above water supply
intakes, near aquifer recharge areas and well protection areas.This bill
would subsidize sprawl development that will directly impact drinking
This bill will create more flooding and development in areas that were
just destroyed in Hurricane Sandy.Further, the financing could be used
for eminent domain and gentrification along the coast.
This bill will provide funding through tax payer subsidies for new
developments proposed in sensitive areas.This bill hurts development in
appropriate areas by subsidizing growth in rural areas, taking away jobs
and resources from our cities and existing communities.
"This is nothing but sprawl-fare, corporate welfare subsidizing
overdevelopment and paving over of environmentally sensitive areas,"
Jeff continued,"This bill will end up undermining development in our
cities by subsiding growth in our last remaining open spaces.As long as
we subsidize development on green fields we are discouraging
redevelopment projects on brown fields and in urban areas and hurting
affordable housing.This shifts jobs and people to the suburbs.Instead
ofrebuilding our coast smarter and better, this bill could be used to
subsidize eminent domain projects for politically connected developers
where working families currently live."
Pinelands villages and towns and the Highlands Planning Area are
included in the final version passed by the Senate.It does not make
sense to be promoting and funding growth in such rural and out of the
way places.The Strategic Plan calls for growth areas in the Highlands
and Pinelands to receive more infrastructure to support higher density
development.This bill will now finance those infrastructure
improvements, including sewers.Higher density developments would be
serviced by new wastewater community treatment facilities or package
plants, which will have serious impacts on water quality.
"Between the State Strategic Plan turning these areas into growth areas
and now the Economic Opportunity Act to fund that growth is a one-two
punch to promote development in some of the last remaining open space
areas in New Jersey,"said Jeff Tittel. "Many of these areas are
environmentally sensitive forested lands without adequate sewer and
water capacity.We are promoting growth in the some of the last remaining
wild places of New Jersey."
The bill will allow EDA to bond billions of dollars for projects and
then paying off those tax payer subsidized low cost bonds using the tax
revenue that would normally go to state or local coffers.The state will
lose billions in revenues while developers get rich at our expense.That
loss in revenue could lead to increased taxes or cuts in services for
the rest of us since those projects will still need services and
infrastructure improvements.Independent studies by groups such as Good
Jobs, Green Jobs has shown that these programs do not increase jobs they
only enrich the corporations that benefit from the programs.
Since the start of 2010 New Jersey has given out $1.57 billion in
corporate tax subsidies to 70 companies through 4 programs, while New
Jersey home owners have seen their property taxes go up by about a
billion dollars in the past year. In addition they are paying $387,000
in subsidies per new job and that is if we actually get the new jobs as
promised.The top subsidies include $650 million to Xanadu/American
Dream, $81 million to Goya Foods to move 5 miles and create 9 additional
jobs, and $250 million for Prudential to move a few blocks in
Newark.This bill will allow additional corporate subsides throughout the
state at the expense of urban communities.
"At a time when we need economic activity we need to promote that growth
in the right places and not do it in the places that will hurt the
environment and in the long term the economic viability of the state.We
need to make sure we redevelop our cities and towns but not at the
expense of our water supply and open spaces for future generations,"
-- Kate Millsaps Conservation Program Coordinator NJ Chapter of the Sierra Club 609-656-7612 _________________________________________________________ NJ-Sierra-Chapter-Ex-Committee List Info & Archives: http://lists.sierraclub.org/archives/NJ-EXCOM.html - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -Received on 2013-08-19 11:39:07
New Jersey Sierra Club, 145 West Hanover St., Trenton, NJ 08618, USA
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