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Xanadu is a taxpayer nightmare

titteljeff042411_optBY JEFF TITTEL
COMMENTARY

A poll released Monday shows that 58 percent of New Jersey residents do not want tax money to be used to help out the American Dream Mall, formally known as Xanadu according to the latest FDU Public Mind Poll.

Triple Five, the Canadian based company developing the mall, has asked for tax-free financing that could be as much as $800 million. Triple Five already has received $350 million because of a no subsidy cap that was passed in June. In total they could receive $1.15 billion through subsidies and government financing.

This poll shows that the public gets it. They are sick and tired of government working for special interest and against public need. New Jersey needs another mega mall like we need another superfund site. At a time when towns are broke, we have no money for schools, and cops in dangerous areas are being laid off to keep throwing more money into this monstrosity is just unconscious able.

Triple Five is looking to raise $1.9 billion for the project placing unnecessary burdens on tax payers to pay for this monstrosity. The company is looking to raise between $200 million and $300 million from bonds with towns such as East Rutherford and $400 million in bonds from Bergen County. It is also looking into raising between $150 million and $300 million in tax free bonds from the 8,000 parking spots on site. The tax payers are getting hit three times by subsidies, the fact they are not getting paid for this land and now they are going to have to pay to park.

Even if the developer wastes money, the taxpayers will still be subsidizing it. This comes at a time when the state is in a financial crisis according to our governor and cannot afford to clean up contaminated sites, remove underground storage tanks, or redevelop brown fields. But now the state is moving forward with massive tax breaks for the American Dream project even after three developers have tried and failed.

The public understands that this is definitely the American Scheme because all they want to do is fleece the taxpayers of money through subsidies. They are putting taxpayers on the hook for paying off the debt if the project fails as they have done three times before.

Jeff Tittel is the Director of the New Jersey Chapter of the Sierra Club.

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TH

 

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