When Select Committee Chairman Bob Smith (D-17) summoned South Jersey Power Broker George Norcross III to testify on the state tax incentive programs, activists vociferously protested (photo above taken by InsiderNJ columnist Fred Snowflack).
“Take down King George! Take down King George! Take down King George!”
The action prompted another ejection on the heels of Working Families Alliance Executive Director Sue Altman’s removal a short time ago.
Briefly bemused looking, Norcross positioned himself at the microphone, ready to testify, as state police moved more people toward the door. The power broker proceeded to make his case for how the tax incentive program – now under investigation by the FBI and the state Attorney General’s Office, which benefited businesses closse to Norcross – has helped Camden, where the boss was born.
“Camden is the safest it has been in 50 years,” Norcross told the select committee. “More people have jobs than just five years ago. Camden’s unemployment is at a 30-year low.
“We now have competing public school disticts: renaissance schools, charter schools and public schools,” he noted. “Parents now have a choice. The program we put in place has worked in Camden.”
He turned his attention to the Grow New Jersey program, amplified by the New Jersey Economic Opportunity Act of 2013, noting the contributions by various insiders, among them Bill Caruso, Bill Castner, the late John Sheridan and “ultimately” state senators Ray Lesniak and Joe Kyrillos.
Norcross said the late John Sheridan made the case for the power broker to move his corporate office park to Camden. “That would make a profound impact,” Norcross said Sheridan told him.