COUTINHO, WATSON COLEMAN, FUENTES & LAMPITT BILL TO ENCOURAGE BUSINESSES TO STAY AND COME TO NEW JERSEY ADVANCED BY ASSEMBLY PANEL

Legislation Assembly Democrats Albert Coutinho, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Angel Fuentes and Pamela R. Lampitt sponsored to stimulate economic activity by encouraging businesses to stay, expand and move to New Jersey was released on Wednesday by an Assembly committee.

The bill is part of the extensive Democratic legislative “Back to Work NJ” effort to create jobs and reinvigorate New Jersey’s economy.

The legislation (A-3353) establishes the New Jersey Closing Fund, which under the auspices of the state treasurer and New Jersey Economic Development Authority would provide financial assistance to business and industry projects that would significantly benefit the state but require additional reDests as an inducement to locate or remain in the state.

“One of the keys to jumpstarting economic development throughout our state is encouraging and promoting the retention and expansion of existing business and industry, while also attracting new ones,” said Coutinho (D-Essex), the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development chairman. “This bill is a big step toward accomplishing those goals and ensuring we have what it takes to close the deal when the time is right.”

“Keeping businesses here and luring others to come must be a priority,” said Watson Coleman (D-Mercer). “This is a responsible approach that will create jobs and boost revenue for the state down the line once our economy is rolling strong again.”

“This is a responsible bill that will create jobs and revive our economy just when it’s needed most,” said Fuentes (D-Camden/Gloucester). “We need to help businesses that employ our residents and entice others, and with this plan we will finally be in position to do so.”

“Only projects that will bring a positive financial benefit to our state, and thus our workers, will be eligible for this help,” said Lampitt (D-Camden). “This is the right thing to do and the right time to do it to position our economy to thrive.”

The bill requires the authority to determine the eligibility of each project seeking an award based on the authority’s finding that the project meet the following criteria:

· The project comprises a designated industry facility as defined in the bill;

· The project will have a payback period of at least five years;

· The receipt of an award from the fund will be a material factor in the applicant’s decision to proceed with the project;

· Together with any other financial incentives the project receives from the state, the project will yield a measurable net positive financial benefit to both the state and the municipality in which the project is to be located; and

· The project will stimulate economic activity within the state through the creation of new full-time jobs, the retention of existing full-time jobs or a significant capital investment in the project.

The authority may, in consultation with the treasurer, waive these criteria based on extraordinary circumstances if the project would significantly benefit the state economy.

The bill requires the authority to include proposed performance conditions the project shall meet to obtain the award. In reviewing the recommendations of the authority, the treasurer may accept the recommendations of the authority. Upon approval by the authority, the treasurer shall prepare a contract that shall include proposed performance conditions that the project shall meet to obtain the funds.

An application for an award from the fund shall include:

· A schedule of short-term and long-term employment projections resulting from the project’s location in the state;

· The terms of any lease agreements or details of the purchase or building of a qualified facility in connection with the project;

· An estimate of the projected state tax revenues resulting from the project;

· The amount of capital investment in the project;

· A description of the type of contribution the project can make to the long-term growth of the state’s economy;

· A written commitment by the applicant to operate the project for at least five years after receipt of the award; and

· Any other necessary and relevant information as determined by the authority.

The bill appropriates from the state budget to the authority such sums as may be necessary to fund the New Jersey Closing Fund, including an amount equal to 5 percent of the incremental State revenues under the State Economic Redevelopment and Growth Grant program.

The bill was released by the Assembly Budget Committee.