LD4 Republicans hit Moriarty over offshore wind tax credit vote

July 17, 2023

New Jersey Globe

By Joey Fox

Moriarty hits back, says Republicans are fighting against South Jersey jobs

Republicans in the 4th legislative district have begun attacking Assemblyman Paul Moriarty (D-Washington), who is running for the district’s Senate seat this year, over his recent vote for a bill allowing the offshore wind company Ørsted to access substantial federal tax credits.

“This is a classic ‘Robin Hood in Reverse’ scheme that screws local ratepayers to bail out a multi-billion-dollar company,” said Chris Del Borrello, a former Washington Township Councilman and the Republican Senate nominee in the 4th district. “What was Paul Moriarty thinking? Or better yet, follow the money.”

The offshore wind farms currently in the early stages of construction along the Jersey Shore have long been the subject of intense debate in New Jersey politics. Democrats, most prominently Gov. Phil Murphy, have said offshore wind development is a necessary part of the fight against climate change; Republicans have responded that wind farms would harm tourism along the Shore, and have connected the development to a spate of whale deaths earlier this year.

The battle came to a head in the state legislature over the Ørsted bill, which essentially gives the company federal tax credits that would have instead gone to ratepayers in New Jersey. Murphy signed the bill last week, shortly after it passed the legislature on a near-party line vote.

Only one Democrat voted against the bill: State Sen. Vin Gopal (D-Long Branch), who faces a competitive fight for re-election in a Monmouth County district that covers some of the most iconic parts of the Jersey Shore.

Moriarty’s district, on the other hand, isn’t particularly close to the ocean; in fact, it’s closer to the Paulsboro plant where wind turbines’ foundations will be built. But 4th district Republicans evidently see the issue as one that could energize inland voters as well.

“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see where this is going – Governor Murphy, Assemblyman Moriarty, and the Democrats are so obsessed with their far-left ideological agenda on energy policy that they are willing to force taxpayers to underwrite it, no matter how badly it fails,” Republican Assembly candidate Amanda Esposito said. “We’re running because we’ve had enough and believe South Jersey taxpayers have, too.”

In a statement responding to the attack, Moriarty said that Republicans are being foolish for criticizing something that will economically benefit South Jersey.

“Desperate Del Borrello is so pathetically reaching to find a way to be relevant that he is launching a tirade against federal tax credits that will create jobs and provide massive economic opportunities in South Jersey,” Moriarty said. “Today demonstrates that Chris Del Borrello is not on our side and shilling for the fossil fuel corporate interests by choosing big oil over South Jersey jobs.”