By Michael Aron
Chief Political Correspondent
This was the official announcement of a controversial tax incentive award approved in Trenton last week. The state will grant Holtec International $260 million over 10 years to build and relocate to a large facility covering 47 acres on the Camden waterfront. Gov. Chris Christie approved the deal.
“I hope now that after four and a half years as governor, that the folks here in this city understand that I understand that New Jersey will only be as great as it can be if all of our cities are doing better,” said Christie.
Holtec is an engineering technology company that designs, manufactures and installs equipment mainly for the nuclear power industry. Krishna Singh founded the company 30 years ago before nuclear reactors stopped being built.
“Maybe you will be able to say that nuclear powers rebirth occurred in Camden. We created a clean, safe source of energy that will no longer be a scare. It will be no more risky for you to look at a chocolate plant or a paper mill,” said Singh.
Critics say $260 million in tax incentives is too much for a project that will create 250 new jobs. It comes to about $1 million per job. But those in attendance don’t see it that way.
“For far too long, far too many unfulfilled promises have been made to our residents but today I am proud to stand with strong leaders to keep my word and fulfill my promise to foster economic climate which will create real jobs for our residents. Not 10 years from now, but today,” said Camden Mayor Dana Redd.
The project is said to create 1,200 construction jobs. Christie said that he is trying to work with Redd to put Camden on a path to revitalization.