WASHINGTON, DC— In this week’s address, President Obama spoke to the American people from the Boeing Plant in Everett, Washington about our efforts to strengthen American manufacturing and job creation here in the United States. He described how we can support businesses like Boeing, which is hiring thousands of Americans across the country, through steps like removing tax breaks for companies that send jobs overseas and giving them to companies that create jobs at home. The President is committed to continue assisting businesses in selling their products around the world, and the United States is on track to meet President Obama’s goal of doubling exports within five years. The President believes that by boosting American manufacturing and supporting our job creators, we can create an economy that’s built to last.
Category Archives: corporate tax breaks
WASHINGTON, DC— In his weekly address, President Obama told the American people about companies that are “insourcing” – choosing to bring jobs back and make additional investments in the United States. To help with this, the President invited business leaders who are insourcing jobs to a White House forum this week to see how others can follow their example. The President is committed to assisting businesses bring jobs back to this country, and will soon announce tax proposals that reward companies that invest in America and eliminate tax breaks for companies that move jobs overseas. He has also put forward a proposal to streamline government to make it easier for businesses large and small to get support in selling their products at home and around the world. The President will continue taking action every day to grow the economy and help more Americans find jobs.
Americans are rightly disgusted by the news from Washington. If Congress and the President fail to act within days, or maybe just hours, the United States could be in the unprecedented position of defaulting on our obligations. In essence, the President would be required by law to conduct programs – including Medicare, Social Security, and the national defense – that, by law, he could not pay for.
What would happen next? Interest rates would rise, sending shockwaves through the economy. Home loans, car loans, and student loans would become far more expensive. Businesses, already finding credit unavailable, would have a harder time meeting payroll. The dollar’s status as the world’s most trusted currency would be threatened. And our credibility in the world markets would vanish. Surely, more layoffs, lower pay, and reduced economic activity would result.
This is an unnecessary, artificial crisis. It is not the result of a natural disaster or terrorist attack. It is solely the result of Republicans in Congress holding America hostage. They are threatening a crisis unless Congress enacts their extreme, ideological agenda – an agenda that demands hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts to Medicare and Social Security, all while protecting tax loopholes for oil companies, corporate jet owners, and billionaires.
What is especially troubling is Congress has now wasted weeks in these hostage negotiations instead of doing the real, difficult work required in this economy: putting people back to work. Solving the jobs crisis would do far more to reduce our nation’s deficit than any plan now pending in Congress. In fact, the long-term deficit would improve dramatically if we simply ended the Bush tax cuts for the very wealthy and Big Oil. Removing the Bush tax cuts would do more to reduce the deficit than Speaker Boehner’s bill.
To those who insist that, by refusing to allow America to pay its bills, they can teach the nation a lesson, I ask this question: would you teach yourself a lesson by refusing to pay your credit card bill?
The moment has long since passed to end this self-induced crisis. Let’s raise the debt limit and move on to the real work of rebuilding the American economy.
You might have seen media coverage of the Rev. Jesse Jackson in New Jersey the other day. He talked to reporters in the hot sun on the steps of Citigroup building in Jersey City about the need to invest in schools, cities and people – not throw tax breaks at financial institutions which are just hoarding capital in this lousy economy.
I was struck standing there with him not just by how important it was to have someone of Jackson’s stature here in New Jersey delivering a message about help for working people, but how great it was that he was delivering the Better Choices budget coalition message.
You see, sometimes, the work we do at NJPP that matters most is behind the scenes – work we get the opportunity to do because years of credible research and strategic messaging have put us in a position to influence events.
This week is a great example.
Before Reverend Jackson went before the media I briefed him at the request of our coalition partners on a paper analyst Sarah Stecker and I wrote that identified $1 billion in tax subsidies that the state has awarded to corporations the past 16 months. That work is at the core of the Better Choices push for investment in services that lift up all New Jerseyans rather than providing tax breaks to corporations and the wealthy.
Jackson is an icon of the civil rights era and one of the strongest voices fighting poverty in America. He was in New Jersey for a series of labor rallies, as well as news conference on behalf of Better Choices to talk about the surge in corporate taxpayer subsidies here in New Jersey. At our table in the Westin Newport, I outlined our research that showed 70 major corporations have been awarded a total of more than $1 billion in taxpayer subsidies on the promise to create jobs.
Citigroup is a prime example. The bank received $87 million in subsidies since 2004. The expectation was that the financial giant would justify the subsidy by hiring 3,750 people. (Citi is still 1,000 jobs shy, by its own count). The latest Citigroup subsidy was approved in March – $12.3 million to bring 400 jobs from New York State to Jersey City. Three weeks after it was awarded the subsidy, Citigroup announced it was laying off nearly 300 workers at one of its New Jersey sites. Not a very good deal for New Jersey taxpayers, as it turned out.
Jackson, over a bowl of Raisin Bran, grinned and turned the analysis into a newsworthy sound-bite: “They got the money, we didn’t get the jobs. … We should be investing in people, not corporations.”
I was delighted to play my small role in Jackson’s visit to New Jersey. And even if I can’t resist the temptation to do a little name-dropping, more importantly I hope sharing this anecdote helps illustrate to you the important work we do here at New Jersey Policy Perspective.
More to come…
Deborah Howlett, President
May 17th, 2011 | Published in NJPP Blog: As a Matter of Fact …
New Jersey Policy Perspective president Deborah Howlett made the following statement about revenue projections presented today to the Assembly Budget Committee by the Office of Legislative Services:
While it’s great to hear that New Jersey tax revenues seem to have bottomed out and are beginning to climb, the state remains stuck in a very deep hole.
The Office of Legislative Services projects that revenues will approach $29.9 billion next year, an increase of $1.17billion over its current year estimates. However, even with that growth, the state’s revenue collections would still be $3.4 billion less than was collected in FY2008, the year prior to the recession. Almost all of the increase is driven by higher income tax collections fueled by the rebound on Wall Street. Revenues from sales, corporate business and other taxes are still below estimates.
The state must choose to invest these revenues wisely, using the money to restore the devastating cuts made to services and to pay into the state pension system. The money should not be used, as the governor suggested was his goal during his budget address in February, to fuel $2.5 billion in corporate tax breaks over the next five years. He’s already used $1 billion in future tax revenues to subsidize corporations and business since taking office. Those efforts have contributed to the state’s lackluster corporate tax revenue collections and have failed to create quality jobs. It’s time to abandon old, tired trickle down economic theory and embrace the reality that creating a strong, vibrant economy and attracting good, solid middle class jobs requires great schools, safe streets and the high quality of living New Jersey attained before the recession.
While the increase in revenue is welcome news, New Jersey still has far to go before it is made whole again.
Since the beginning of 2010, New Jersey has awarded more than $1 billion in tax subsidies as part of a strategy aimed at jump-starting the state’s economy and putting tens of thousands of people back to work.
Even as Governor Christie pleaded poverty to make deep cuts to essential services like education and health care, the state doled out tax credits and grants to corporations and developers in New Jersey at an unprecedented rate.
Incentives for economic investment were necessary, it was argued, to create a more business-friendly climate that would generate good jobs for New Jerseyans.
Sadly, it hasn’t worked. Not even a little bit.
Employment statewide is down more than 5,000 jobs since the beginning of 2010.
Last month, 3,847,200 people were employed in New Jersey, according to the state Department of Labor and Work Force Development’s monthly non-farm employment report, which is available here. That’s down 5,100 from the 3,852,600 who were employed in January 2010, when the state embarked on probably the most generous business subsidy effort New Jersey has ever seen. (For more, see NJPP’s report A Surge in Subsidies.) It’s also a precipitous drop – 231,700 jobs – from peak employment of 4,078,900 in 2007.
A breakdown of the data shows the state has lost 7,600 manufacturing jobs and 4,500 construction jobs in the private sector since January 2010. They also show the state has lost 24,400 public sector jobs — as teachers, police and other employees were laid off. Those 36,500 lost jobs were offset somewhat by a gain in the service sector of nearly 31,000 jobs.
The decline in employed New Jerseyans might come as a surprise to some who’ve assumed that the economy was improving because the state unemployment rate dropped from 9.8 percent to 9.3 percent during that time. (The U.S. rate, over the same period, has fallen twice as fast, from 10.0 percent to 8.8 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.)
But it turns out the drop in the state unemployment rate is a statistical anomaly because, since January 2010, the state’s labor force — the number of people working plus those looking for work — actually declined to 4,493,000 from 4,522,200 as people moved away or gave up on the hope of finding a job. So the unemployment rate didn’t go down because more people are working; it went down because fewer people are looking.
Seems like there might have been a better way to spend that $1 billion….
>As A Matter Of Fact…State pleads poverty to reduce tax credits for working families, but has enough to provide tax credits for corporations
Today, on tax day, it’s important to note that a parent with two children working full time at the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour (about $15,000 a year) will owe $300 more in taxes – or more than a week’s wages.
These are the same families who are also being targeted for other cuts in services that are essential to their independence. Last year about 48,000 uninsured parents who received the state EITC were denied health coverage through NJFamilyCare. That number is expected to rise to 92,000 parents this year.
It is getting to the point in New Jersey where, for many marginal families, it simply doesn’t pay to work. Aside from stripping those working families of their independence, it creates an even greater cost to the state.
The governor’s favorite rock star, Bruce Springsteen, recently cited a Legal Services of New Jersey report in a letter to the Asbury Park Press, writing, “the cuts are eating away at the lower edges of the middle class, not just those already classified as in poverty, and are likely to continue to get worse over the next few years.” The census data backs up his assertion. From 2005 to 2009 lower income groups increased, the middle class shrank and the number of wealthier people increased in New Jersey. Economics plays a role in this, but so does state policy.
This cutback in tax credits for working families comes even as the Christie administration and the Legislature are expanding tax credits for corporations in New Jersey.
For example, last month the state awarded Campbell Soup a $41 million tax credit to renovate its corporate headquarters, move 49 jobs from Cherry Hill to Camden and hire 50 new employees at the Camden site over the next 10 years. The credit includes $6.3 million for new furniture. Campbell qualifies for the subsidy, officially called the Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit, which is aimed at redeveloping urban centers, because its offices are within a mile of the Walter Rand Transportation Center.
The total cost to the state to fund that tax credit to Campbell Soup is nearly as much as the $45 million in savings gained by reducing the state EITC.
So who needs this help the most, one of the largest corporation in America or working New Jerseyans who can barely make ends meet to support their children? It’s unfortunate example of why the state needs a more balanced approach — one that doesn’t focus only on cuts in services, but also balances the demand for shared sacrifice fairly between working families and giant corporations.
Interested in learning more about the Earned Income Tax Credit? Check out this piece by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: