After touring a box company in Paterson yesterday, Gov. Chris Christie said businesses will see more government incentives to grow and expand — when the state can afford it. Christie said his quest to reduce regulations and taxes would help “lay the foundation for growth again,” while acknowledging his proposed budget cuts several programs designed to help entrepreneurs and businesses. The Republican — who faced a nearly $11 billion budget shortfall, or more than a quarter of spending obligations — proposed cuts to Urban Enterprise Zones, a tax credit program for tech start-ups, and a job and investment tax credit program, among others, in his $29.3 billion budget presented in March.
“What’s going to help businesses like this the most is creating an atmosphere with lower taxes and less government and less regulation and spending,” Christie said after touring Accurate Box. “We’re going to get back to those programs.”
Accurate Box, a 66-year-old business that makes custom cardboard boxes for companies such as Kellogg’s and Frito Lay, has taken advantage of several loans and bond programs over the years through the Economic Development Authority, which has programs that provide low-interest loans to small businesses.
The company also had signed up for Invest NJ, a program launched last year by former Gov. Jon Corzine that promised companies $3,000 in tax credits for every new job created.
Christie eliminated the program before most of the thousands of businesses that had applied for credits received the money, saying it was unclear if it worked.
Larry Shapiro, the vice president and chief financial officer of Accurate Box, said that while “every nickel and dime” helps while working on thin margins, the credits themselves did not prompt the hires.
“Anybody that goes out and hires a person because they’re going to get a tax benefit when there is not an economic or business justification for adding the person shouldn’t be adding the person,” he said. “Would I have liked to have gotten the money? Sure. But as a taxpayer in New Jersey, I’m glad they eliminated it.”
Christie has been promoting two of his yet-to-be-finalized programs over the past few weeks, the New Jersey Partnership for Action and Choose New Jersey, which will be the responsibility of Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno.
Guadagno noted that several programs to help businesses grow are still in place, while businesses can still charge 3.5 percent sales tax in the Urban Enterprise Zones.
Instead of sending half of those collections back to the enterprise zones for reinvestment, the state had to recoup all the money from the sales tax this year for its budget. Star Ledger