COUTINHO, BENSON, SINGLETON, CONAWAY & DeANGELO JOB CREATION & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BILLS ADVANCED BY ASSEMBLY PANEL

Legislation Assembly Democrats Albert Coutinho, Daniel R. Benson, Troy Singleton, Herb Conaway M.D. and Wayne DeAngelo sponsored to create jobs and economic development to combat New Jersey’s continued high unemployment rate was advanced Thursday by an Assembly panel.

The bills build upon Democratic job creation efforts and would:

  • Establish the Grow New Jersey Assistance Program tax credit incentive for New Jersey-based companies that retain and create new jobs. (A-4306 sponsored by Coutinho and Conaway). The bill was approved by a vote of 12-0.
  • Create a loan program within the New Jersey Economic Development Authority to help small businesses expand. (A-4336 sponsored by Benson, Coutinho, Singleton and DeAngelo.) The bill was approved by a vote of 11-0-1.

“Nothing is more important right now than doing whatever we can to help New Jerseyans and the businesses that employ them survive this difficult economy,” said Coutinho (D-Essex), chairman of the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee. “Creating jobs and economic growth is a must, and with this bill package, we’re positioning New Jersey businesses to succeed in the 21st century. That can only be a good thing for our residents.”

“We cannot rest easy when unemployment continues to hover above 9 percent,” said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex. “We need to do more, and this legislation aims to ensure New Jersey businesses are as competitive as possible so they can thrive and create new jobs. Strengthening our economy to ensure residents can find work is a priority.”

“I promised to make job creation and economic growth top priorities, and these bills are a great step toward making that goal reality,” Singleton said. “Making it easier for small businesses to expand and taking steps to ensure our businesses remain competitive will lead to more jobs for working class families striving to make ends meet. That will mean a stronger New Jersey for everyone.”

“Incentive programs designed to grow New Jersey companies who retain and create new jobs is a smart approach,” said Conaway (D-Burlington/Camden). “It ensures subsidies are aligned with real job creation that benefits our working families. Targeted incentives like this will strengthen New Jersey’s economy and build a stronger middle class.”

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of this state, and we need to do everything we can to help them expand, invest and hire residents,” said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “Working families in New Jersey benefit when small business thrive. That’s why this bill is so vital.”

One bill (A-4306) would create a new tax credit for businesses under the Grow New Jersey Assistance Program, expand the existing Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit program and make revisions to the Business Retention and Relocation Assistance Grant Program.

Under the new tax credit program, a business will receive a tax credit for making a minimum $20 million capital investment in a business facility and creating or retaining at least 100 full-time positions in a qualified area, but only if the project yields a positive fiscal net benefit to the state and if the business applies for the credit before July 1, 2014.

Qualified areas include: a vacant commercial building having over 400,000 square feet of office, laboratory or industrial space available; an area designated for development within the Highlands, Meadowlands and Pinelands; former military bases such as Fort Monmouth that were closed under the federal Base Closure and Realignment law; and planning Areas 1 (Metropolitan) and 2 (Suburban) or any urban, regional, or town designated center under the State Development and Redevelopment Plan.

The other bill (A-4336) would require the EDA to establish a small business loan program offering low interest loans of up to $250,000 to eligible small businesses for purposes that increase total employment. Generally, the interest rate on the loans would be 2 percent; if the loan results in a greater increase in employment or the target increase is met more quickly, the authority could allow the rate to fall below 2 percent.

The bills were released by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.