Progressives Storm EDA Hearing in Trenton

On Tuesday morning, progressive leaders went to Trenton to quizz members of the EDA Board about the details of tax incentives that benefited the business interests of the Norcross brothers.

Members of the Working Families Alliance and South Jersey Progressive Democrats this morning went to the public portion of the state Economic Development Authority (EDA) meeting to grill the board about the details of a deep-dive WNYC ProPublica story.

The EDA furnished state tax incentives that benefited the business interests of the Norcross Brothers in Camden.

“The [piece] gave us a lot more questions than answers,” said Sue Altman, executive director of Working Families.

The progressive leader wanted to know about a public bidding process for Camden property acquired as a consequence of EDA tax credits.

If not, why not, she asked.

For the live stream of the meeting, please go here.

The referenced ProPublica story examines how “the most powerful political family in the state had spent months helping to engineer the tax break law. George E. Norcross III, a prolific Democratic fundraiser and power broker, had championed the idea among lawmakers; his brother Philip Norcross, a lawyer and lobbyist with deep ties to local and state government, wrote parts of the legislation; and a third brother, Donald Norcross, then a state senator and now a member of Congress, had co-sponsored it. Once the law passed, the Norcrosses’ allies, business partners and clients took advantage.”

Appointed by Governor Phil Murphy to head the EDA Board in the aftermath of the tax incentive scandal coming to light, Kevin Quinn told citizens who went to the microphone that the process of full understanding will take time.

“We’re going to have some answers, but don’t hold your breath,” he said.

According to NJBIZ reporter Dan Munoz, Quinn was critical of the legislation that enabled the tax incentive program. “Its time has passed,” Quinn said. “Its shelf life should not be extended. We’re better than this.”

Following recommendations made by a governor’s task force, the tax incentive program is under investigation by the FBI and the state Attorney General’s Office.

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