W&L: Persona Non Grata

WINNERS:

The Godfather: The 50th Anniversary edition of Mario Puzo’s “The Godfather is available!

Nancy Solomon and Jeff Pillets: We’ve all suspected that awful things go on behind the scenes in Camden. We’ve heard the rumors, the stories. But Jeff and Nancy actually documented it. Words can’t do justice to this stomach-churning, game-changing report by WNYC/Pro Publica. Please read it, every word. And here is our statement about it.

Philadelphia Inquirer’s Catherine Dunn and Andrew SeidmanDarryl Isherwood summed it up best. Imagine someone wrote a law for you saying you do not have to pay property taxes. And on top of that, when you file your taxes, you can receive credit for the taxes you weren’t paying. After this happens, a Comptroller report is issued, a Task Force is created, state and federal criminal investigations are launched, and national news organizations rip apart this corrupt benefit. What would happen?

If you’re the New Jersey Legislature, you overwhelmingly (and inexplicably) vote to do it all over again.

Economist Timothy J. Bartik: Three cheers for national experts! On NJ.com this week, Bartik (whose views apparently weren’t subject to a Google search before the Senate SHAM committee invited him last month to testify) writes “New Jersey can spend less on incentives, yet achieve a higher job impact for New Jersey residents.”

Pat Garofalo, Managing Editor, Talk Poverty: Very on-point title. “New Jersey’s Subsidy Shakedown:  ‘Nice jobs you have there. Shame if anything were to happen to them.‘”

How is this for Garofalo’s opening? “Most of the biggest tax boondoggle news at the moment is coming out of New Jersey, and for good reason. Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy initiated an audit which showed the state’s economic development programs are a wretched hive of scum and villainy that have cost taxpayers billions of dollars.”

Wretched hive! Villany! Indeed!

LOSERS:

Chris Christie: We see that the nation’s leading expert on civility still hasn’t quite mastered the art of honesty. “I know that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Jersey did a complete investigation of the tax credit program and came to the conclusions that everything was done legally and properly.”  Interesting, that’s not exactly the wording we read from the U.S. Attorney’s office after it was reported George Norcross had been wiretapped by the FBI.

Christie also noted that Grow NJ for Camden “was not like other programs, which were attempting to prevent people from leaving.”  Chris, you may want to read the sworn testimony of the EDA officials who testified that in order to receive the most meaningful awards, New Jersey jobs needed to be “at risk.”

Finally, Christie notes “the Governor’s office had no influence” on applications. The Christie Administration political?  Gov, you may want to check out the EDA whistleblower suit that was filed.

Thank goodness for whistleblowers.

Senate Democrats: The general public STILL has not been allowed to testify or weigh in on tax incentives with its SHAM committee — but the Senate was proud to announce George Norcross will happily testify on an unannounced date in November. The announcement mysteriously came after Matt Friedman called out Norcross since it was over 100 days since Norcross offered to testify but still hasn’t.

We predict he chickens out again. But if he does show up, let’s get ready for some REALLY tough and probing questions from this hard hitting committee. (“Mr. Norcross, why does Phil Murphy hate Camden so much?”)

Jeff Van Drew: Dude, Fox News?

Illegal Efforts to Reign in Dark MoneyYeah we pretty much told you so. Free advice going forward: Maybe next time sit down with all stakeholders, create a level playing field, and don’t craft an entire piece of legislation around a George Norcross/Steve Sweeney political vendetta.

The Daily Meal’s 2019 ranking of America’s 101 Best Pizzas: Only 6 out of 101 from New Jersey? We want a recount!!