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Assembly Panel Approves Coughlin Bill to Help Boost Redevelopment Projects, Encourage Growth of Start-up Companies in NJ

(TRENTON) – Legislation Assembly Democrat Craig Coughlin sponsored to encourage start-up manufacturers to invest in redevelopment areas by exempting local contract bidding requirements was recently approved by the Assembly commerce panel.

Coughlin noted in the bill that many communities in the state continue to struggle with deteriorating physical condition, economic stagnation or decline and a lack of proper development. These communities are generally located in the most urbanized parts of the state, which are close to major transportation networks.

The bill (A-4050) would permit local units to award public contracts to start-up manufacturers that make investments in struggling parts of the local unit without public advertising for bids and bidding, which is generally required under current law.

“Municipalities need more options in attracting business investments in such hard-hit areas in order to help turn more communities around through neighborhood revitalization, job creation, and additional tax revenues,” said Coughlin (D-Middlesex). “This is an opportunity for purposeful redevelopment of the state’s most under-developed communities and a critical component in stabilizing the state economy.”

The bill’s provisions are limited to new, small manufacturers in order to attract businesses with significant growth potential in a struggling sector of the economy. The bill would also provide environmental benefits through greater transportation efficiencies that would be realized from encouraging manufacturers to move closer to purchasers and major transportation networks.

For a contract to be awarded without public bidding under the bill, (1) a manufacturer would have to be a start-up business; (2) a manufacturer’s offices and facility would have to be located in a know redevelopment area; (3) the facility would have to either newly constructed or substantially refurbished; (4) the manufacturer may not have owned or been a tenant of the manufacturing facility; (5) the manufacture would have to invest at least $1 million in the manufacturing facility; (6) the manufacturer my not have already been awarded 10 year’s worth; and (7) the purchase price would have to be less than 15 percent over the fair market value for equivalent purchases.

“There are plenty of prime, local opportunities for creating new business hubs with start-up companies,” continued Coughlin. “A boost for local economies, generate more jobs and helping businesses sustain communities, this bill is an important step toward a stronger New Jersey economy.”

The Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee released the measure on May 7.