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Christie endorses Newark bid to win new Amazon headquarters

(File) Jeff Bezos, Amazon Founder/CEO

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - Republican Gov. Chris Christie on Monday endorsed the bid of the state's biggest city to win Amazon's competition for a second headquarters.

Christie backed Newark's effort alongside Democratic U.S. Sen. Cory Booker and Democratic Mayor Ras Baraka. Christie said the state and the city are planning nearly $7 billion in tax breaks.

"Newark is prime for Amazon's HQ2 development, and this deal would amount to one of the most successful endeavors in the history of New Jersey and Amazon," Christie said in a statement.

Amazon, which is based in Seattle and has its headquarters there, has said its second headquarters would bring 50,000 jobs along with it, and Christie previously estimated the second headquarters could generate up to $9 billion in economic activity.

Monday's announcement of a possible $7 billion in tax incentives is $2 billion more than what Christie and the Democrat-led Legislature last month agreed to enact to attract Amazon.

Christie's announcement also outlined a city property tax abatement worth up to $1 billion and a city wage tax waiver that he said would let potential Amazon workers keep $1 billion over 20 years.

Booker, a former Newark mayor, said the project would contribute to the "biggest economic boon in Newark since the 1960s."

Newark is roughly a half-hour drive from New York and about 90 miles (145 kilometers) from Philadelphia. It also is home to a port and the Newark Liberty International Airport.

Competing with Newark in New Jersey are Camden, Jersey City and New Brunswick.

The deadline to submit proposals is Thursday.

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, the Republican gubernatorial candidate, endorsed the plan. Democratic candidate Phil Murphy, a former Goldman Sachs executive, has said he wants to attract Amazon but hasn't explicitly backed the state tax credits.

During Monday's lieutenant gubernatorial debate, Democrat Sheila Oliver said it wasn't time to "commit" to the tax incentives, but that the ticket wasn't ruling them out, either.

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