From the Star Ledger:
New Jersey officials today approved a $260 million package of tax credits — the third-largest economic subsidy in state history — for a nuclear-energy company planning to build reactors on the Camden waterfront.
It was the largest tax subsidy awarded in recent years by the state Economic Development Authority, and it went to Holtec International, a Marlton-based company whose board includes one of the state’s most influential Democrats, George Norcross.
Under the terms of the award, Holtec will create 235 new full-time positions and relocate 160 existing jobs from other parts of the state to Camden. Once those workers are in place, the firm will reap subsidies of $26 million a year for 10 years.
In exchange, New Jersey will realize $155,520 in net economic benefits over 35 years, the authority estimated. Under the terms of the agreement, however, the company is required to stay at the Camden location for only 15 years.
Liberals and conservatives alike criticized the $260 million tax break for a politically connected firm at a time when New Jersey is strapped for tax revenue to pay for its schools, hospitals, property tax rebates and pension obligations.
“This is just another form of crony capitalism, and it needs to end,” state Sen. Michael Doherty (R-Warren), one of the state’s most conservative lawmakers, said. “The more we do of this, the worse the economy gets in the state of New Jersey.”
New Jersey Policy Perspective, a liberal research organization, said the tax break awarded to Holtec was one of the largest ever bestowed in the United States. The state is paying $658,228 for each job — “a sky-high number that has never been seen before in New Jersey and is even far higher than the average per-job cost of the largest ‘megadeals’ across the country,” Jon Whiten, Policy Perspective’s deputy director, said.
Doherty said the real cost was even higher, since 160 of the jobs already existed in the state.
“It looks like New Jersey is paying over $1 million for each new job that’s being created, and this is a disturbing trend,” he said.
Doherty added: “My understanding is that small businesses create 98 percent of the jobs in the state of New Jersey. Let’s provide tax relief for small business — a broad-based program of tax relief — not a bunch of insiders sitting around a table picking the winners and losers, government picking the winners and losers.”