Occupy Essex Slams the Pru (Again)

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Occupy Essex recently released a video to protest New Jersey’s proposed $250 million tax credit for Prudential to build new headquarters in Newark. The group has slammed Prudential before on this issue. In the video, Occupy Essex spokesman Adam Karl calls the proposed tax credit an “outrage” and notes that the company isn’t even eligible for the credit. He goes on to say: “If the pigs at Prudential Insurance want a posh new corporate tower in downtown Newark let them build it themselves.” 

Baristanet asked Jon Whiten, Director of Communications & Technology for New Jersey Policy Perspective, to comment. He responded in an email:

The subsidy fell under the Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit program, and it is supposed to “create” 400 new jobs. A couple of points on the deal:

The details still haven’t been nailed down, and now there is a land-swap with NJPAC on the table.

Profitable corporations shouldn’t be given tax subsidies to move headquarters just a few miles or blocks down the road.

More broadly, the use of these tax subsidies — particularly when negotiating for companies to stay in state, rather than when negotiating to bring new companies here — has gotten out of hand. The end result is a race to the bottom where the only actors who “win” are the corporations who save tax dollars, and the politicians who point to these deals as economic development triumphs.

What do you think? Does this amount to “corporate welfare for the Pru” as Occupy Essex believes — or does it make good economic sense to entice job-creating corporations to stay in state?

23 COMMENTS

  1. Wow, that genius is about what I’d expect.

    What does he mean by “will strike again” anyway?

    I love the notion that the “Movement” is getting stronger. As evidenced by what? One guy and his iphone recording studio?

  2. The original mutual Prudential likely would not have behaved in such a greedy and worthless manner. There was an event, known as ‘demutualization” which converted a once great company into just another ugly New York bank run by greedy, ugly bankers. The heart of the Prudential is long dead.

    I had to say it.

  3. Enugh with this stuff about “Occupy Essex.” It’s impossible to take these, uh, budding populists seriously. And this clown just sounds like a hapless whiner in desperate meed of taking some basic economics and business courses. Reminds me of Jim Morrison singing “We want the world and we want it now.” Yeah, sure, right, Jimmy, you betcha.

    Still, it’s kind of amusing to see Baristanet running this stuff, since its “home base” of Montclair and Glen Ridge probably harbors many vociferous posters here who, if not actually “1%ers” (and not the fun kind, either), are likely in the top 10% or 15% by income.

  4. It’s kind of like the Gilligan’s Island episode where they found the one guy stranded that thought the war was still on.

    Hey nice flat screens in the background.

  5. If he could just heed Deadeye’s call and learn some economics he’d see the folly of this so-called occupation.

  6. Even the term “folly” is overblown.

    It implies some actual action or effect.

    This is just microwaved re-warmed communism on a thin paper plate.

  7. As movements go, you can stick a fork in this one; it’s done. Newark should be thankful for any corporate support that it receives, after all people and corporations are still free to vote with their feet and Newark isn’t exactly the greener side of the fence.

  8. More broadly, the use of these tax subsidies — particularly when negotiating for companies to stay in state, rather than when negotiating to bring new companies here — has gotten out of hand. The end result is a race to the bottom where the only actors who “win” are the corporations who save tax dollars, and the politicians who point to these deals as economic development triumphs.

    That’s a pretty fair summary of what actually happens.

  9. Right on walleroo. Anyone care to comment on the more reasoned NJ Policy Perspective’s comments? I understand the rationale for offering companies incentives to stay, but when does that turn into corporate blackmail? At some point all the incentives we’re handing out don’t make up for the revenue from the jobs they supposedly create.

    Then again, its certainly laudable for a company like Prudential to stay in a past-its-prime environment like Newark for as long as they have. I can only imagine the recruiting headaches it causes.

  10. This is just microwaved re-warmed communism on a thin paper plate.

    Socialism or communism, I wish you guys would decide on a scary word.

    And commenting that a system is unfair is not neccessarily calling for that system to be replaced.

    Even Republican candidates have addressed income equality. Remember Gingrich calling Romney a vulture capitalist? The movement has had no effect, though, right?

  11. “That’s a pretty fair summary of what actually happens.”

    So let’s “win” by sending the job’s elsewhere?

    It’s negotiation. Perhaps some of you have heard of that? If Newark thinks Pru is bluffing, call them on the bluff.

    But tell me, what other advantage do you all think Newark (NEWARK!) has to entice corporations, other than low taxes?

  12. Newark (NEWARK!)

    Off the top of my head…..easy access to an international airport, tons of great local restaurants with cuisine from all over the world, a variety of commuting options, Pru center, NJ Pac, nightclubs and JJ’s hotdogs.

  13. It’s negotiation, to be sure, but the Pru has most of the bargaining chips. The question is whether Newark gets much out of the deal. I doubt they get more than chicken feed, but chicken feed is better than eating cardboard.

  14. I don’t know if I should be disappointed with Baristanet for giving this guy an audience or thankful for letting everyone see and hear how ridiculous (and uninformed) he sounds. Corporations are supposed to make a profit so where is the injustice there? As for the tax break…obviously Newark thinks it’s a great deal for them or they would let Pru walk…Mr Karl appears to be some frustrated with the way life works so is looking for someone or someone to blame. I actually feel sorry for him and I am grateful for some advice I got as a kid…”If your life’s not working, you’re not working hard enough” May seem harsh on the surface but when you hold yourself accountable there is less frustration and more peace within yourself. Good luck to Mr. Karl…I hope he can find a productive way to employ his efforts. Maybe he can start a useful business and some city that needs help to survive will offer him a tax break.

  15. Nick Danger above hit the nail on the head. My stepfather was the Pru’s treasurer while it was still mutally owned by it’s customer-stockholders. Until his last breath he fought against the selling-out the Pru to Wall Street (and I was among the Pru stockholders who voted against demutualization). My stepfather was just as adamant about Pru’s commitment to Newark and lived by the creed, ‘to whom much is given, much is expected.’ I am just as disgusted about asking New Jersey’s beleaguered taxpayer’s to subsidize the privately-owned Pru, but the bottom line is we need these jobs. But I do wish the City of Newark every strength in dealing with the New Pru — as my stepfather said: banking (and that is what the Pru has become) is really the world’s oldest profession.

  16. Its funny how Newark Bears Stadium and that parking deck fly under the radar. That Essex taxpayer funded boondoggle was pushed through for political favors and now it sits there pretty much empty night after night bringing in no revenue to pay off the bonds. There are some serious issues there. There was a great opportunity to bring baseball back and pack the stadium when the Yankees wanted to move their minor league team there for a few years but were blocked by the Mets which I cant believe wasn’t worked out. Keeping Newark afloat is a serious financial drain.

  17. Too many kill the messenger comments here and no real meat about what he speaks about. How much “tax” money is left in the state’s incentive fund? the answer is $250 million. How much did Prudential apply for in the middle of the night? The answer is $250 million. How does that smell? The tax incentives were to bring new business to NJ and with Prudential bullying politicians for the money the other areas in the Urban corridor will be effectively cheated out of the funds. I am sure Christie will fix this before it’s too late. Corruption must be stopped.

  18. Herb….Sooner or later you’ll wake up to the fact that the ruling elite don’t care what flag you’re flying as long as the fodder stays divided. The only flag they care about is colored gold or green and in their world banks.

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