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Judge tosses Norcross lawsuit aimed at stopping New Jersey tax incentive investigation

A New Jersey task force investigating the state’s tax break program will move forward, after a state judge tossed a lawsuit filed by a South Jersey Democratic power broker.

Businessman George Norcross said the task force was politically motivated by Gov. Phil Murphy and did not give his and other companies the chance to answer for allegations lodged during public task force meetings.

“The plaintiffs will review the Judge's written decision in order to make a determination about whether and how to move forward to protect their rights and the good names they've built over decades in business,” said Norcross spokesman Dan Fee.

Task force members Ronald Chen, Jim Walden, and Pablo Quiñones said the ruling was a victory for the state.

“We will continue our important work to provide as much transparency as possible to problems and challenges of administering these tax-incentive awards,” they said in a statement.

The task force has been investigating billions of dollars awarded through the state’s tax incentive programs. A state comptroller’s report found alleged misuse of the program and lax oversight among state officials. Norcross’s company and firms with ties to him have received hundreds of millions of dollars in incentives.

Sue Altman, state director of New Jersey Working Families and a frequent Norcross critic, said the state can now proceed with its inquiry into the generous tax breaks doled out over the past several years.

“It clears the air for the task force to continue doing the work it needs to do to get to the bottom of what actually happened with these tax incentives and what needs to be done in the future to prevent this from ever happening again,” Altman said. “And to hold those who did wrongdoing accountable for what happened.”