CAMDEN, N.J. – Under Republican Gov. Chris Christie, New Jersey has authorized more than $2 billion in economic development tax breaks since 2014. An Associated Press review of those tax breaks found that often they have gone to corporations with notable political connections. One grant went to a developer who owes millions of dollars on an unpaid state loan.
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The aid has gone disproportionately to businesses in Camden, a beleaguered city of 77,000. Development projects in the city received $630 million in future tax breaks last year.
As Christie considers a Republican presidential campaign, a Camden renaissance would offer a useful counterpoint to New Jersey's lackluster economic performance. But the AP review found those tax breaks may do less for the city than advertised and more for Christie's political alliances.