Seventy-Sixers NJ Practice Facility Uproar - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Seventy-Sixers NJ Practice Facility Uproar

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Camden, New Jersey (My9NJ) - The Philadelphia Seventy-Sixers are planning to relocate their practice facility to the Camden waterfront, but some New Jerseyans are questioning the deal.

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority led by Governor Christie appointees voted unanimously to give the Sixers $82 million in tax credits to build the facility in Camden. In exchange, the Sixers will bring 250 jobs to the Garden State. However, 200 of those jobs already exist and are filled by current Sixers staff, so only 50 new jobs will be available at this facility.

State Senator Mike Doherty is one of the men opposing this new construction. “When you have these deals where everybody’s a friend sitting around the table and the billionaire is sitting there and connected politicians are sitting there, who’s looking out for the taxpayers?” Doherty questioned.

He said that he can’t understand why they’d do this deal with the state facing a huge budget deficit.

“We have an $800 million budget gap, we’re not gonna make the full pension payment, the tax rebates for homeowners are gonna be delayed until next year, local governments cutting to the bone because reimbursement from the state of New Jersey is being cut back, but we’re giving $82 million of taxpayer money to build a basketball practice facility,” he said.

The tax breaks alone created a bit of a stir and some backlash, but if you look deeper more questions arise. IRS reports show that two of the key Sixers executives donated tens-of-thousands-of-dollars to the Republican Governor’s Association over the last few years. In fairness, some of the donations came before Christie was in leadership, but questions still remain.

This isn’t strictly a Republican issue either. According to reports, the Sixers are being represented by Philip Norcross, brother of political figure George Norcross and Democratic State Senator Donald Norcross.

“We have ambitious politicians who are willing to sell out the taxpayers so they can make friends with billionaires so when they run for higher office they’ll be funded and it’s outrageous,” Doherty exclaimed.

To be clear, none of these close connections are illegal, but with New Jersey offering $82 million in tax breaks while facing a huge deficit.

Governor Christie is said to be excited about this new development and believes that it will generate income for the state.

Now, the question remains, is a practice facility for an out-of-state team the best use of funds and did it happen based on merit or politics?


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