New Jersey approves $158M in future tax breaks for Subaru, hospital moving offices to Camden

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TRENTON, New Jersey — The New Jersey-sponsored business rush to Camden got a boost Tuesday when the state Economic Development Authority approved $118 billion in future tax breaks for Subaru of America to move its U.S. headquarters to the city, and $40 million for Cooper Health System to move non-medical offices from the suburbs.

The EDA has granted businesses more than $500 million this year in incentives to move to Camden for companies including Holtec International, a nuclear power plant component manufacturer and the Philadelphia 76ers, who are putting their offices and practice facilities in Camden. The actual tax credits don't kick in until the companies meet their promised levels of investment and job creation, and they could be reduced if they fall short.

Fast-growing Subaru, the U.S. arm of the Japanese firm Fuji Heavy Industries, Ltd., said it plans to bring 400 existing jobs to Camden from neighboring Cherry Hill and Pennsauken, and add 100 new ones. In addition to marketing, accounting and customer service jobs, Subaru plans to move its training facility for mechanics in Camden.

Subaru is slated to be the first other company to move into an office campus being developed by the Campbell Soup Co. As part of the deal, the car company is to get property tax breaks for 20 years. Richard Landers, a Campbell vice president, said the company hopes to eventually have stations for two commuter rail lines serving the campus.

The state calculates the amount the project generates for state and local governments over the 35 years would be $268 million.

Cooper is planning to move 353 jobs from offices in Cherry Hill and Mount Laurel and add 19 new ones. The hospital, whose board chairman is George Norcross, a Democratic powerbroker, says it's planning to invest $9.1 million in the facility. The health system plans to be a tenant in the L3 Communications complex about seven blocks from the hospital.

The state says the benefit over 35 years is calculated at $67 million.

For companies heading into Camden, the required benefit is lower than for firms looking to go into other New Jersey communities using the incentives. Companies moving elsewhere are required to show they would benefit taxpayers by returning 110 percent of their tax break over 20 years. For companies going to Camden, the bar is just 100 percent of the tax break over a much longer period — 35 years.

Both Subaru and Cooper said they were considering moving the jobs to Philadelphia. But to get the tax breaks to move into Camden, unlike other cities in New Jersey, firms do not have to say they otherwise would have left the state.

Michele Brown, the CEO of the authority, noted that Camden Mayor Dana Redd was at the meeting.

"She's been a fixture at our board meetings and once again," Brown said. "We are so happy to help her do everything she can for her city."


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