In case you haven’t been paying attention lately, whether you are a young college-hopeful or not, New Jersey has shelled out hundreds of millions of dollars to corporations. The idea behind these deals has been to coerce a corporation like Subaru of America to relocate their offices from one part of New Jersey to another. The Economic Development Authority will say it is to keep jobs from leaving New Jersey, but I never knew the 76ers worked in New Jersey in order for them to be our concern… Anyway, in Subaru’s case, they’ve been awarded $118 Million in tax credits to move their affairs 3.9 miles down the road from Cherry Hill to Camden’s Gateway District, roughly a mile away from the Walter Rand Transportation Center and the Downtown economy.
These tax deals are in an effort to spark Camden City’s economy and to bring jobs to the city. All of the entities that have been awarded multimillion dollar tax deals have faced some criticism due to a considerable amount of skepticism about the potential failure of this approach. Many policy experts cite a lack of jobs being made available to the citizens of Camden, leaving an even greater hole in the city’s tax base. In other words, NJ tax payers are paying millions for a job to be relocated, rather than for a new one to be created.
Let’s take a moment now and think about a high school graduate from Cherry Hill, and they’re going to college at either Rutgers-Camden, Camden County College, or Rowan in Camden’s downtown. They’re going to carry out their academic business in Downtown Camden for at least four years, contributing to the city’s economy by paying for parking, buying coffee, lunch, or beer, and maybe even going to the aquarium or catching a concert. They’re traveling the same distance to Camden as Subaru is, perhaps even more! And they already have been and will continue to do the same thing that Subaru and other companies are essentially getting paid to do. The same goes for graduates from Collingswood, or Haddon Township, or even Pennsauken, so where are the tax credits for these students who will be contributing to the city’s economy? If a student cannot be given tax credits for their paid business in Camden, how about tuition assistance? How many students could New Jersey have put through college if they had remised tuition rather than given tax credits to corporations?
With the average cost of tuition between Rutgers-Camden, Camden County College, and Rowan-Camden being $38,140 for four years of college, New Jersey lawmakers could have funded 20,990 students instead of handing out our tax money to large, already-profiting companies, all within a move that is said to eventually cost the state $100 Million more than it is supposed to bring in.
Subaru $118 Million = 3,093 students at four years of tuition
Holtec $260 Million = 6,816 students at four years of tuition
American Water $164 Million = 4,299 students at four years of tuition
Lockheed Martin $107 Million = 2,805 students at four years of tuition
76ers $82 Million = 2,149 students students at four years of tuition
Cooper Health System $40 Million = 1,048 students at four years of tuition
WebiMax $12 Million = 314 students at four years of tuition
Volunteers of America $6 Million = 157 students at four years of tuition
DioGenix $7.9Million = 207 students at four years of tuition
Plastics Consulting and Manufacturing $3.9 Million = 102 students at four years of tuition
Total: 20,990 students who could have had four years of college for free, and could have grown the economy exponentially had they been debt free.