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Assembly OKs Land, Andrzejczak & Armato Bill to Encourage Drone Companies to Set up Shop in Cape May Airport

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Bruce Land, Bob Andrzejczak, and John Armato to attract up-an-coming drone companies to settle in Cape May Airport was approved Saturday by the full Assembly, 63-10.

Cape May County Airport is one of the six FAA UAS test sites. County officials are focused on attracting up-and-coming drone companies to help boost the region’s economy. Luftronix, a small tech startup, became the county’s first drone company when it opened a test and demonstration center at the airport last year. The company uses the center to conduct aircraft inspection flights with drones to scan the airplanes and test for damage from corrosion, dents and lightning strikes.

“Startup drone tech businesses have described the Cape May County Airport as an ideal location due to its large and open air space, away from large commercial airports,” said Land (D-Cape May/Atlantic/Cumberland). “We have to capitalize on this major asset and build on this momentum to grow the region’s economy.”

“Cape May County has recognized its geographic potential and acted on it. This builds on those efforts,” said Andrzejczak (D-Cape May/Atlantic/Cumberland). “This can help spur economic growth and development in Cape May County beyond tourism, and make Cape May County a prominent player in this emerging industry.”

The bill (A-3190) would allow a business located within a “small aviation district” to receive tax credits for job creation and retention activity under the Grow New Jersey Assistance Program, as long as the business satisfies all other eligibility criteria. The bill would define “small aviation district” as the area located within the boundaries of a general aviation airport that is located in a county of the sixth class, and is operated by an interstate authority created pursuant to an interstate compact. Only the area located within the boundaries of Cape May Airport currently meets this definition.

“This bill will help to promote small businesses, tourism, and our economy,” said Armato (D-Atlantic). “By using new, innovative technology, we can make New Jersey residents and travelers from other states more aware of the Cape May County Airport as well as everything the surrounding area has to offer.”

The Grow New Jersey Assistance Program was established by as an economic development incentive program to be administered by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority for the purpose of creating and retaining jobs through the awarding of tax credits. The program was substantively modified by the “New Jersey Economic Opportunity Act of 2013,” N.J.S.A.52:27D-489p et al, and under the reconfigured program tax credits are to be awarded to businesses for eligible projects located in certain geographic areas of the state that meet two financial conditions.

First, the financial assistance must be a material factor in a project’s realization. Second, the project must yield fiscal benefits to the state over a period of up to 20 years (or up to 30 years in the case of a “mega project” or a project in one of five municipalities designated as a Garden State Growth Zone, or up to 35 years if a project is located in the city of Camden) that equal or exceed 110 percent of the tax credit amount (or 100 percent in the case of the city of Camden).