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

(TRENTON) – Legislation Assembly Democrats Albert Coutinho, Daniel R. Benson, Troy Singleton and Herb Conaway M.D. sponsored to create jobs and economic development to combat New Jersey’s continued high unemployment rate was released Monday by an Assembly panel.
The bills build upon previous Democratic job creation efforts and would:
· Establish the Grow New Jersey Assistance Program tax credit incentive program for New Jersey-based companies that retain and create new jobs. (A-4306 sponsored by Coutinho and Conaway).
· Create a loan program within the New Jersey Economic Development Authority to help small businesses expand. (A-4336 sponsored by Benson, Coutinho and Singleton).
· Establish the New Jersey Business Action Center to help New Jersey-based companies stay competitive. (A-4337 sponsored by Coutinho and Singleton).
“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 that released the bills. “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.”
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.
A qualified area is 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; Fort Monmouth; and areas designated as metropolitan, suburban) or as an urban, regional or town center under the State Development and Redevelopment Plan.
Another 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 final bill (A-4337) would officially create the New Jersey Business Action Center within the Department of State. The center is intended to be the state’s liaison to the business community and provide information about state financial and incentive programs; state taxes; permits, licenses, certificates and other governmental approvals; state regulations; available commercial real estate and international trade.