- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 27, 2015

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - Rutgers University is getting the job of analyzing how the tax incentives being used to attract and keep businesses in New Jersey are working.

State Sen. Ray Lesniak announced the contract on Wednesday, saying it’s expected to be finalized on Friday by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.

The Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy would study the impact of tax incentive programs that the state is increasingly using to attract and retain businesses.

Under a 2013 law that beefed up New Jersey business incentives passed by the Democrat-controlled Legislature and signed by Republican Gov. Chris Christie, the state has pledged more than $2.4 billion to companies.

Some critics, such as the liberal New Jersey Policy Perspective, say that the state is promising too much per job. Under the programs, the firms have to show that they’re making required investments and have hired enough people to get their annual allocations.

Rutgers is to produce reports over the next three years addressing whether the business incentives are creating jobs, along with other topics.

Lesniak, a Democrat, has been calling for the state to provide more detailed information about the effects of the incentives.

He said Wednesday that he will continue pushing for a law that would require annual reports. He said the incentives need to be monitored for more than three years, especially since companies are to receive tax breaks that they can use themselves or sell over a period of 10 years in most cases.

Virginia Pellerin, a spokeswoman for the Economic Development Authority, said the agency would not comment because the contract with Rutgers was still being finalized.

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