Are N.J. tax breaks for companies worth the money? Why it’s hard to tell

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State and local government officials attend a ceremony for the raising of the final steel beam at Holtec International. on July 8, 2016. The company got $260 million in tax incentives to build its manufacturing plant in Camden.

State and local government officials attend a ceremony for the raising of the final steel beam at Holtec International. on July 8, 2016. The company got $260 million in tax incentives to build its manufacturing plant in Camden. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Every government says it wants to create jobs. One way to do it is to offer tax incentives to companies that move to or expand in the state. That’s what New Jersey did under former Gov. Chris Christie. Boosters say the tax breaks have spurred a wave of economic development, especially in struggling cities like Camden. But current Gov. Phil Murphy says the program is too expensive, lacks oversight, and that some companies aren’t delivering on their promises. On this episode of The Why, WHYY reporter Joe Hernandez explains why it’s hard to tell if programs like these work.

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