N.J. Dangles $200 Million in Breaks to Financial Firms

  • Jersey City and Hoboken are close-to-Manhattan alternatives
  • Christie business incentives total $6.5 billion, report says

New Jersey is offering almost $200 million in incentives over 10 years to insurance, technology and financial companies to operate across the Hudson River from Manhattan.

One applicant, Ernst & Young U.S. LLP, would score $40 million over 10 years with a Grow New Jersey Assistance Program grant to build in Hoboken, where ferries and rail service make Manhattan reachable in less than 10 minutes. New York-based Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc. would qualify for $22 million to operate there as well.

Since he came to office in January 2010, Republican Governor Chris Christie has offered more than $6.5 billion in tax breaks to lure companies or encourage them to stay, according to a September study by New Jersey Policy Perspective, a Trenton group that studies issues affecting the poor and middle class. The incentives aren’t awarded unless the applicants satisfy employment, retention and other requirements.

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority, which oversees the grants, will vote on the applications Thursday, when details of the companies’ proposed capital investments and job figures will be available. In all, $198 million is at stake for development in Hoboken and Jersey City, where incentives have created what’s called “Wall Street West” in skyscrapers along the Hudson.

“It is the EDA’s longstanding policy not to comment or provide details on projects prior to board action,” Virginia Pellerin, an authority spokeswoman, said in an e-mail.

Five companies would have operations in Jersey City: private insurer Clover Health LLC, First Data Corp., Omnicon Group Inc., Zurich American Insurance Co. and RVM Enterprises Inc.

(State agency corrects name of company in sixth paragraph.)
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