Monday, February 05, 2007

Once Invested, Cable Channel Now Leaving State

(From The Asbury Park Press -- By Jonathan Tamari)

In June 1996, then-GOVENOR CHRISTIE WHITMAN used a new set of business subsidies to score an economic victory, luring NBC's new cable channel, MSNBC, to North Jersey.

Secaucus, with the help of THE BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT INCENTIVE PROGRAM signed into law one month earlier,
beat out some 200 competing sites for the chance to host the venture.

The state ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY estimated the studio would bring 440 jobs and $1.1 billion in public and private investments.

MSNBC would receive 10 years of "BEIP" grants and, as an additional sweetener, the state would help purchase $167 million in equipment for the channel and its WALL STREET focused sibling, CNBC, forgoing millions in sales tax dollars.

In return for the grants, MSNBC was obligated to stay in
New Jersey for 15 years.

Roughly 10 years and $7.8 million in grants later, MSNBC is set to close its Secaucus studio as part of a reorganization
by its parent, NBC.

Of the 459 jobs MSNBC created, all but 50 will be cut or moved out of New Jersey.

NBC plans to shutter the Secaucus facility by December, six months after the grants were scheduled to run out and five years short of the company's original obligation.

MSNBC invested roughly $250 million in the Secaucus facility, the EDA estimated, although it does not have an exact figure.

For leaving the site early, NBC agreed to give up $2.3 million in grants for its CNBC headquarters in Englewood Cliffs and pick up a larger share of the equipment costs.

But the EDA still stands to lose up to $4 million on the purchases, on top of millions in sales tax revenue the state gave up.

Once Invested, Cable Channel Now Leaving State

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