Illegal ‘underground’ construction costing NJ taxpayers millions, report finds

By: Andrew Polk
Posted: Oct 08, 2016 04:26 PM CDT

The state of New Jersey is losing millions of uncollected tax dollars every year because of a robust and growing underground construction economy, according to a new report by researchers at the Stockton University William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy.

The report finds this illegal construction activity illegally undercuts companies that follow the rules, decreases work opportunities for union workers and may be responsible for the state’s declining construction wages compared to other states.

According to John Froonjian, one of the authors of the Stockton report and a senior research associate and manager of the Stockton Polling Institute, what’s happening is very significant and very costly to the state.

“The construction underground economy, it’s probably worth at least $640 million and our ranges go from half a billion to $1.2 billion dollars and it involves 35,000 workers across New Jersey,” he said.

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