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ExxonMobil plans to close its Clinton campus and move hundreds of New Jersey jobs to Texas, where it will create a single North American research and technology hub in Houston, published reports said Tuesday. 

The decision is a “blow to New Jersey’s innovation economy” and should “serve as a reminder as to why New Jersey needs to greatly improve its business climate and to be more competitive with other states,” NJBIA Deputy Chief Government Affairs Ray Cantor after the news was first reported by Bloomberg. 

ExxonMobil spokeswoman Emily Mir was quoted in the Bloomberg report as saying the move would affect 700 employees at facilities in Clinton and Ontario, most of whom would be offered jobs in Texas. The move would be done in stages and completed by 2028, she said. 

The company’s Clinton campus employs top scientists and researchers and has a long history of innovation achievements. According to the company’s website, the New Jersey research facility has garnered 29,000 patents since the 1950s and has more than 80 R&D collaborations with academics, national labs and industry partners. 

“With this consolidation, New Jersey is effectively losing hundreds of good-paying, highly educated jobs at a facility that was on the cutting edge of clean energy technologies,” Cantor said. “In short, it’s a blow to our innovation economy that New Jersey strives to achieve. 

“While there is no known link to this New Jersey closure and corporate taxes, it is also a reminder that having the highest corporate tax rate in the nation, as currently proposed by Gov. Phil Murphy, does not help our competitiveness as corporate consolidation, expansion and relocation decisions are made every day,” Cantor said. 

The governor has proposed replacing the former 2.5% percent corporate business tax surcharge, which was levied on top of the current 9% CBT rate, with a retroactive 2.5% corporate transit fee levied on New Jersey’s largest employers. If the Legislature agrees with the plan, it means New Jersey’s largest companies would be paying a total 11.5% tax on corporate earnings – the highest rate in the nation by far.