CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) — Camden celebrated Monday some new jobs that are on the horizon, but not everyone is cheering. Some say corporate welfare is largely responsible for their arrival.
The symbolic breaking of ground means much more than moving dirt for ResinTech, which began in the Gottlieb family basement 33 years ago, and by next summer, will operate a new $139 million factory.
“Our vision was to build a plant made with the newest technology, newest innovation, highly efficient,” ResinTech CEO Jeff Gottlieb said.
For the future 265 employees, the plant brings the hope of a better life, something former inmate, now ResinTech production manager Mike Douglas, has experienced.
“Where a lot of doors were getting shut in my face, and ResinTech was willing to get an opportunity and when they did, I took total advantage of it,” Douglas said.
Helping others like Douglas reach their potential is exactly why companies like ResinTech have been able to take advantage of a New Jersey tax incentive program called The Economic Opportunity Act, also known as Grow N.J.
Since it began in 2013, companies have received billions in tax breaks to create jobs, but critics are blasting the effectiveness of the program.
“We see very little oversight, very little making sure that the taxpayer dollars being taken care of,” Sue Altman said.
Altman’s organization, South Jersey Women for Progressive Change, is one of more than 50 groups that have signed a letter calling for the Board of New Jersey’s economic development authority to resign.
They echo the concerns of Gov. Phil Murphy, after an audit casts doubts if companies are really creating many new jobs, which was the primary purpose.
“I think that giving tax credits to highly-profitable companies that are located in the suburbs, we’re not talking about new jobs, we’re talking about a relocation of jobs from nearby jobs, that’s problematic,” Altman said.
ResinTech is also relocating jobs from other sites to Camden, but Gottlieb says they’re also making many new hires, particularly in manufacturing.
“At the end of the day, I can’t worry about what everybody else thinks,” Gottlieb said. “I just know the path we took to get here, and I feel incredibly good about why we’re here today.”
ResinTech says they won’t receive any Grow N.J. money until the plant is complete next June and they can certify the jobs they create.