The New Jersey Economic Development Authority has approved a $260 million tax break to encourage an energy technology company to build a new manufacturing plant in Camden.
Holtec International would get the tax subsidy over 10 years for building the plant, hiring 235 new workers and moving 160 current employees from Marlton to Camden.
Camden Mayor Dana Redd said Thursday she is looking forward to the jobs the Holtec deal would mean.
“There will be a future announcement later this month for workforce development. We’re working with another state department to implement a training module that will prepare our residents for the jobs that are being sent to the city,” she said.
But Jon Whiten, deputy director of the New Jersey Policy Perspective think tank, questioned whether the $650,000 cost per job is worth it.
“It’s hard to imagine that New Jersey taxpayers will get a good return on that kind of investment,” he said. “We agree in principle that we need to help Camden out. Deals like this aren’t probably the best way to go about it.”
Tim Lizura, president of the Economic Development Authority, argued that the subsidy will encourage Holtec to spend millions to build nuclear-waste containers in Camden instead of a site it had been considering in Charleston, South Carolina.
“There’s 400 jobs to the city of Camden and it’s $260 million of private investment before there’s anyincentives provided to anybody,” he said.
In order for the project to be successful, said Bob Bryant with Camden Churches Organized for People, he said it will have to help reduce unemployment in Camden
The subsidy is the third largest ever approved by the EDA. Only tax breaks for the Revel Casino and the American Dream Complex in the Meadowlands were larger.