TRENTON-Large corporations like MSNBC, Barnes & Noble and Merrill Lynch have been receiving millions of dollars in state subsidies to build sprawling facilities, and one state agency wants it stopped. Not the sprawling facilities, nor even the subsidies per se – the NJ Economic Development Authority just wants companies to stop building on the Garden State’s dwindling supply of open space.

Indeed, the administration of Gov. Christie Whitman has made a crusade of preserving open space, but without upsetting the economic development apple cart.

Under a new proposal, companies would receive the benefits of EDA’s structured financing (relief from sales taxes and other costs by using state funding to pay for certain major expenses) only if they comply with the state’s plan to stay away from open spaces targeted for preservation. Compliance with the state plan has been voluntary – and largely ignored – and this would be the first time compliance would be specifically written into the codes.

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