U.S. Senator Cory Booker heaped praise on George Norcross today for his efforts to rejuvenate the city of Camden, putting the Democratic presidential candidate in the middle of Gov. Phil Murphy’s fight over tax incentives approved by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.
“George Norcross is absolutely committed to Camden City,” said Booker. “Assessing the success of the programs that incentivize this growth isn’t just good governance, but an opportunity to constantly improve policies and, ultimately, unleash the full potential of our people and state.”
Booker’s comments follow a series of brutal news stories that allege abuses of the tax credit program that might have benefitted Norcross, a South Jersey political leader and chairman of Cooper University Health Care.
“Anyone who visits Camden can see the revitalization that the city has experienced in recent years,” said Booker, a former mayor of Newark. “Attracting new investments, new jobs, and new businesses to one of the state’s most historically distressed communities has been a big part of that revitalization.”
On Friday. U.S. Senator Bob Menendez also jumped to Norcross’ defense. Menendez and Booker are also political allies of Murphy.
Booker’s statement puts him in agreement with Menendez, who gave credit for the Camden resurgence to Norcross.
“There’s still much work to be done – in Camden and in places all over the state and country,” Booker said.
Last week, the task force Murphy convened to investigate the EDA programs pointed to oddities in applications filed by four firms with ties to Norcross, including Cooper University Health Care.
Two investigative reports — one by The New York Times and the other by Pro Publica — found that Kevin Sheehan, an attorney with ties to Norcross, wrote parts of the incentive programs’ enabling legislation and that a majority of the award money granted for development projects in Camden went to firms with ties to Norcross.