Governor proposes tax incentives to partners of state research universities

<p>Governor Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) said in a statement on Friday that the previous incentive system wasted taxpayer money and did not create enough jobs.</p>

Governor Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) said in a statement on Friday that the previous incentive system wasted taxpayer money and did not create enough jobs.

Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) is proposing the state make changes to its tax incentives law, as recent reports and state testimony have suggested that the current incentive program is wasting money on projects that do not create job growth, which the long-standing law was intended to do, according to NJ Advance Media

In fact, the state attorney general’s office and a special governor’s task force have begun investigating the Economic Development Authority (EDA), which was found to have inadequate procedures to vet tax incentive applicants, as it has given $11 billion in tax incentives to corporations since 2005, according to the article. 

One of the changes the governor would like to see is a tax incentive to companies and individuals who partner with state research universities, such as Rutgers University—New Brunswick. Murphy hopes tax incentives will act as rewards for local hiring and developments in transportation, according to the article. 

It is unclear how the proposed tax incentives would impact the University, but it is clear that state funding has an impact on Rutgers’ finances. The Daily Targum reported last semester that Rutgers received $433 million in state appropriations for the University’s 2018-2019 budget and an additional $444 million for state-paid fringe benefits (extra benefit supplementing an employee’s salary). 

The new proposal comes shortly after Rutgers announced a 2.9% tuition increase for this academic year, according to the Targum.

Meanwhile, other Big Ten schools such as Pennsylvania State University’s main campus and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, have frozen in-state tuition this year. Pennsylvania State University has frozen its in-state tuition for the second straight partially thanks to the $337.2 million in state aid it is receiving, according to PennLive

The University of Illinois has frozen in-state tuition for the fourth straight year, in a move to attract more state residents to the university, as only New Jersey loses more in-state students to out-of-state schools, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The state of Virginia passed a $57.5 million plan to freeze in-state tuition at all of its public colleges and universities, according to the Fairfax Times. Out-of-state tuition was frozen at Christopher Newport University, George Mason University, Norfolk State University, Virginia Military Institute, Virginia Commonwealth University and Radford University as well. 

None of the tuition freezes included student fees or room and board costs, which still increased each year at nearly all mentioned schools.

Courtney McAnuff, vice chancellor of Enrollment Management, said in an interview with the Targum that he hopes the University receives more state funding, but sees it as unlikely. 

“Do we need more money? Yes. Do I foresee that happening? probably not,” McAnufff said.

McAnuff has also served on a state committee the governor has put together to come up with ways to make college more affordable that will announce some new things sometime later this fall.

“I think there will be some positive things, and maybe there will be some state resources that will be placed to help students,” he said. 

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