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Bound by constraints of development incentives laws

As an economic development practitioner, I was disappointed in your April 8 “Our Point of View” editorial about the Urban Transit Hub tax credit program. You mislead your readers that the New Jersey Economic Development Authority has discretion in awarding tax credits for commercial projects meeting the Urban Transit Hub tax credit's jobs and capital investment eligibility requirements. In fact, the EDA has no such discretion. The statute sets forth the amount of the award as 80 percent or 100 percent of the eligible project costs and is only lessened by the net benefits test as set forth in the statute. The EDA administers the law which sets forth how the awards are granted.

Reviewing incentive programs and their impact to the state is critically important, as what is needed to retain/attract jobs to New Jersey changes over time due to economic conditions. I applaud the Legislature and Gov. Chris Christie for working together to enhance New Jersey's incentives to ensure they meet the current economic needs for our state to be competitive both domestically and globally. However, it is important to correctly describe EDA's role as the agency that administers the statutes created by the Legislature and signed into law by the governor, they do not create them.

Caren Franzini, president
Franzini Consulting
Former CEO of NJEDA

Move on from Rutgers mess,
and let Barchi lead the way

Last April, the Rutgers University board of trustees concluded a national search by naming Dr. Robert Barchi, who has a distinguished record as both a physician and academic leader, as the 20th president of Rutgers University to succeed Richard McCormick. The Rutgers trustees entrusted Barchi with several important strategic initiatives, paramount among them are the aspects of the higher education restructuring related to Rutgers and its assimilation of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey into the university.

Rutgers has earned a national reputation for excellence and advances an essential mission as a key institution of higher learning where wisdom and knowledge are transferred from generation to generation, contributing to New Jersey's work force which is recognized as one of the nation's best.

"This restructuring will present enormous opportunities to excel in the medical, dental, and health sciences, bolstered by the strong basic health science research capabilities UMDNJ has demonstrated throughout its history," Barchi said. "Likewise, the outstanding UMDNJ programs that are joining Rutgers will benefit immensely from new synergies with research and teaching in pharmacy, nursing, the life and social sciences, engineering, law and business, the arts and humanities, and many other areas of strength." Clearly this merger will improve higher education in New Jersey and will allow the state to realize the promise of greater collaboration between our research universities and biomedical industries that have historically been the backbone of New Jersey's economy.

Recent events surrounding the university's basketball program have put Rutgers in the spotlight for the wrong reason, but don't change the important opportunities that will be realized through the merger with UMDNJ.

It is now time to move on and focus on what everyone agrees is the primary function of Rutgers University – the pursuit of academic excellence. Let Barchi and his leadership team expend their energy on the details of the restructuring of Rutgers University and medical education in our state. This is what he was hired to do. To do any less would be a disservice to New Jersey.

John Galandak,
president Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey

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