In January, Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver appeared on NJTV’s “On The Record with Michael Aron” and was asked about the comptroller’s report of the NJEDA’s tax incentive programs (the episode aired on January 18th; the Tax Incentive Task Force would not be announced until January 24th).
Aron brought up Camden, saying that some Trenton observers have said ‘this is an arrow aimed at the South Jersey Democrats, they’ve used a lot of tax incentives to rebuild the Camden waterfront, and this is just another salvo’ between Murphy and Sweeney.
Oliver responded that ‘on the whole South Jersey situation, you know, people need to understand that, for a very very very long time, because the northern legislators held leadership for decades in the state legislature, a lot of resources and assets were always directed towards northern communities. There is no doubt that Camden New Jersey is probably one or two in terms of the poorest communities in the state’.
‘I think that tax incentives that went to Camden- you wouldn’t have seen those companies come there or stay there,’ she said. ‘Lockheed Martin, you wouldn’t have seen Subaru, you wouldn’t have seen Holtec come there, you wouldn’t have seen Connor Strong building a corporate headquarters there, the expansion of Rutgers’, adding ‘that type of investment was necessary in Camden in order to compete right across the river with Philadelphia’.
Camden leaders held an event touting Camden’s progress on Thursday and subsequently released a recap of the speakers (including Governors Florio and Corzine) and included the above quote from Oliver in their release.
During the interview, Oliver pushed back against the characterization of a salvo by the Governor against South Jersey, saying ‘I think the salvo should have been directed and was directed at the EDA itself’ while adding ‘we played fast and loose during those Christie days’.
Watch the full January 18th episode of NJTV’s On The Record with Michael Aron here.