Business report: Tax incentive deal, Horizon bill, retail sales

A deal has been reached on a new corporate tax incentive program for New Jersey

It’s been a long time coming, but a deal has been reached between legislative leaders and Gov. Phil Murphy on a new corporate tax incentive program for the state. The program includes caps on incentives, something that had been a sticking point. Murphy says the program will help communities that have been hit hard by COVID-19. The deal earned praise from leaders at the New Jersey Business & Industry Association and the state Chamber of Commerce, who say incentives are necessary for the state to attract and retain businesses. Legislation for the tax incentive program is expected to be put forward for a vote by the Assembly appropriations committee this week, with a full legislative vote expected soon after that.

Meantime the full Legislature is set to vote Thursday, Dec.17 on a bill that would allow Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield to restructure. Horizon wants to convert to a nonprofit mutual holding company, which it says would allow it to increase its investments in health care. Critics of the bill are worried about how members of the health insurance company would be impacted.

In another sign of how many are struggling in this economy, the federal government reported that retail sales fell 1.1% in November; that’s the biggest drop in seven months and could be a troubling sign for retailers hoping for a strong holiday shopping season.