Central Jersey Lawmakers Announce Legislative Initiative to Provide Grants and Tax Credits to Small Businesses, Attract Consumers to Local Business Districts

At an afternoon State House press conference, Assembly Members Linda R. Greenstein (D-Plainsboro) and Wayne P. DeAngelo (D-Hamilton) today unveiled their seven-bill Business Expansion and Jobs Plan aimed at helping small businesses weather the current economic climate. The plan seeks to provide financial incentives for small businesses, improve local business districts, and increase accessibility of information for expanding small businesses.

“We need to get New Jerseyans back to work and that means supporting small business owners who are on the front lines in creating jobs,” said Greenstein. “A key component of the plan revises the Invest NJ program to better reflect the financial investment in a new employee by business owners. Even though the program was frozen this year, it is critical to get this program fine-tuned and up and running again to support job growth.”

“While many of these bills seek to take simple ideas and turn them into law, the sum of the parts of this bill package will have a tremendous benefit for the small businesses of New Jersey,” said DeAngelo. “Businesses can not create jobs if they are struggling to keep their doors open. We need to make an effort to revitalize communities and attract consumers so that businesses can be profitable and in turn strive to expand their workforce.”

Components of the Business Expansion and Jobs Plan would:

· Provide Invest NJ grants to small businesses equal to 5% of annual base salary of new employees

· Offer tax credits to businesses that purchase “green” business equipment

· Cut red-tape by creating a uniform application for state business grants or loans

· Revitalize communities by offering tax credits for redevelopment or improvement of distressed shopping centers

· Expand use of traffic calming methods to slow traffic in business districts to attract shoppers

· Improve online access to information about state business assistance programs

· Improve communication with new and expanding local businesses

“The components of the plan are simple and to the point and strive to spur on business growth that will ultimately lead to job creation,” said Greenstein. “Our local business owners are struggling and we cannot and will not turn our backs on them when they need support.”

The bills were derived from ideas and concepts from the 14th District Small Business Roundtable that Greenstein and DeAngelo created one year ago to work with local business leaders to find ways that the state can support businesses like theirs. During the past year, the assembly members have considered numerous ideas brought to them by local business leaders and sought to draft the legislative package.

“Given the challenges facing many businesses today, every little bit of help can alleviate the financial or bureaucratic burden that can threaten to shutter local storefronts,” DeAngelo added. “These proposals came from business owners who see the problems in their every day lives and were gracious in being open in our conversations and bringing their ideas to the forefront.”

Three members of the 14th District Small Business Roundtable attended the press conference. The assembly members will continue to discuss these bills and other potential concepts with local business leaders in the coming weeks and months.

The seven pieces of legislation will be formally introduced when the Assembly reconvenes in mid-September.