Coutinho, Singleton, Watson Coleman, Ramos, Green & Conaway & Wimberly’s Sweeping Economic Development Incentive Reform Legislation OK’d by Assembly

Measure Designed to Create Jobs & Spark Economic Development

(TRENTON) – Legislation Assembly Democrats Albert Coutinho, Troy Singleton, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Ruben J. Ramos Jr., Jerry Green, Herb Conaway M.D. and Benjie Wimberly introduced to boost New Jersey’s job creation efforts by revamping and streamlining the state’s economic development tax incentives was approved Monday by the Assembly.
The bill (A-3680) would merge five state tax-incentive programs into two, with one focused on job creation and the other on economic development.
“Our tax incentive programs have been invaluable to our state’s economic development planning, but – with five programs with varying goals – we clearly need to streamline these programs and make it easier for businesses to understand and take advantage of them,” said Coutinho (D-Essex). “We want businesses to bring new jobs to New Jersey and preserve the ones they already provide. This merger of five incentive programs into two will enhance the ability of the state to attract and retain businesses to further the overarching goal of creating and retaining jobs.”
The bill, the New Jersey Economic Opportunity Act of 2013, expands two economic development incentive programs administered by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.
The Grow New Jersey Assistance Program would be the state’s premiere business attraction and retention incentive.
“It would be built to better match or surpass the financial incentive packages being offered by neighboring and other competing states, while also providing bonuses to drive development to smart growth areas in the state,” said Singleton (D-Burlington). “This is vital for job creation in a state where we’ve seen an unemployment rate hovering near 10 percent. We need to do better.”
“This program would help more readily close project financing gaps and build public infrastructure critical to redevelopment projects, while also providing bonuses to achieve public policy objectives, such as bringing fresh produce to urban food deserts and rebuilding tourism destinations that were destroyed due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy,” said Watson Coleman (D-Mercer/Hunterdon). “Let’s make it easier to create jobs and economic growth while accomplishing some of our major policy goals.”
The bill phases out the provisions of the Business Retention and Relocation Assistance Grant Program, the Business Employment Incentive Program and the Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit Program.
Coutinho said he’s had in-depth discussions with developers, business organizations, labor unions and planning groups as he’s finalized the bill, which was released unanimously by the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee chaired by Coutinho.
“We need to improve upon our current policies and make it easier to create and preserve jobs in New Jersey,” said Ramos (D-Hudson). “We need to do better, and this sweeping reform will go a long way toward creating new jobs in our state.”
“An unemployment rate that’s hovering around 10 percent means we have to do something different,” said Green (D-Union/Middlesex/Somerset). “This is an effort to streamline our incentive programs to create more jobs and economic development. It’s a step in the right direction.”
“We have to focus on job creation and economic development, and this bill will allow us to increase the ability of existing New Jersey businesses, including small and mid-size companies, to use these economic development tools to expand their businesses in place, and to create and retain New Jersey jobs,” said Conaway (D-Burlington). “We will better match or surpass the financial incentive packages being offered by neighboring and other competing states.”
“We need to put a better focus on job creation and economic development,” said Wimberly (D-Passaic/Bergen). “This bill will streamline our laws and make it easier for businesses to bring jobs and economic growth to the places that need it most. We cannot sit idle with 9 percent unemployment.”
The bill will now be referred to the Senate.