Today’s lame duck is anything but lame.
(Trenton)- It’s a madhouse in the New Jersey state house today with dozens of committee hearing on tap and hundreds of activists and advocates on hand pressing their case in the halls of powers.
But there’s one issue that’ll hog most of Trenton’s bandwidth and that’s the testimony of one George Norcross, businessman/democratic party boss, who’s in the house to testify on NJ Economic Development Authority’s lavish tax inventive scheme.
The controversial program has doled out over $11,000,000,000 in tax breaks to political powerful companies, including many aligned with Mr Norcross and his coterie of enablers.
New Jersey Working Families held a press conference prior to Mr Norcross’ testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Economic Development to highlight the various, sundry ways these tax incentives have been hijacked serve the powerful.
Sue Altman is NJWF’s executive director and a vocal critic of this brand of corporate welfare for the very rich. Today she plans to “enjoy the circus, grab some popcorn, and get fired up to fight!”
Most of today’s panel will fawn over Mr Norcross she predicted.
“Today’s hearing is a spectacle, pure theatre,” Ms Altman told InsiderNJ. “Team Norcross has bent over backwards to curate the ideal Trenton experience for him; from recruiting cheerleaders to attend via the Camden County Democratic Committee, to assembling a committee made of his direct financial beneficiaries, mostly beholden to his childhood friend, Senate President Sweeney.”
Norcross loyalist Nilsa Cruz-Perez sits on the select committee for today’s hearing so you can expect an extravagant series of obsequious, softball questions.
“But you really couldn’t ask for a better metaphor of this entire situation,” Ms Altman quipped. “Exclude the community, elevate only some voices, control the narrative, create a public song and dance; and offer voice only to those extended an invitation.”
A recent audit suggests these lavish tax giveaways, as administered by the NJ Economic Development Authority, are borderline sketchy.
“The Economic Development Authority has not consistently collected sufficient information from recipients regarding the employees who fill incented jobs,” said a scathing audit of EDA. “This deficiency prevents EDA from adequately verifying and confirming the recipient-reported data and from concluding that incented jobs were actually created or retained.”
But that won’t stop Mr Norcross from spinning lurid fairy tails later today to a rapt hand-picked committee chosen by Norcross’ top ally Steve Sweeney. Mr Norcross will mock and deride critics of this lavish, seemingly crooked tax scheme. Then he’ll probably cherry pick a few anecdotes to justify giving 11,000,000,000 in tax breaks to rich companies whose word and deeds suggest actual contempt for Camden City residents.
“This is what activists from Camden to Cape May to Essex to Bergen are fighting,” Ms Altman added. “Enough with boss control of our politics, enough with policies that benefit the very few, not the people.”
Keith Errol Benson, president of the Camden High School Alumni Association, was on hand to remind everyone that Camden City is still a food desert with no proper grocery stores in Camden City, So the 75k people living in Camden do their shopping at a corner store or in the suburbs.
This, despite repeated assurances and promises from the Norcross clan that a grocery store is on the way. But the Norcross crew still got their tax free life.
”If George Norcross is so great for Camden, why is he packing the room with suburbanites who are white and already have jobs?” Mr Benson asked rhetorically.