CAMDEN – The room was in a building named after Jim Florio, so it was certainly fitting that the former governor made the most prescient comment of the day.
There is nothing inherently good or bad about tax incentives for business, Florio said. It all comes down to how they are used, and who uses them. In short, you need conscientious people who have a vision that extends beyond their own success. The city of Camden and many of the new businesses now located there have benefited greatly from tax incentive programs run through the state Economic Development Authority. All that was business as usual until a recent state comptroller’s report said some businesses may have gotten grants – actually tax credits in most cases – improperly. Gov. Phil Murphy seized on the report and quickly named a task force to examine the program. That has prompted much verbal sparring among the governor, Republican Chris Christie, who was a big proponent of tax credits to spur business investment, and George Norcross, the South Jersey political boss who saw many of the tax credits in question go to businesses to which he is connected. And so on Thursday, a contingent of Camden officials and business leaders came together at the James J. Florio Center for Public Service to defend the program and to talk about how well Camden is doing. “Camden Rising” was the slogan of the day. The scene outside. As the mayor, business