Bribery, in the form of tax incentives, is hardly the basis of good economic-development policy, but when things get as bad as they have in Camden, N.J., the usual rules go out the window. Time will tell whether state and city official have been skillful enough in applying the lessons learned from previous failures to make the latest efforts to resuscitate the city a success.
Last year the New Jersey Economic Development Authority granted $614 million in tax credits to six projects designed to attract, create or retain 2,000 jobs in Camden. The city can certainly use them. The Campbell's Soup Co. has 1,200 employees in Camden; 1 percent of them -- that's 12 people -- actually live in the city. Out of 77,000 residents, nearly 40 percent, about twice the national average, are below the federal poverty level. And according to FBI data, Camden was the most dangerous city of its size in the country last year.