Assembly Democrats Reed Gusciora and Elizabeth Maher Muoio (D-Mercer/Hunterdon) issued the following statement Friday after the governor vetoed legislation (A-4189) that would have provided a critical lifeline to the first five designated Urban Enterprise Zones – Bridgeton, Camden, Newark, Plainfield and Trenton – by extending the duration of the UEZ designation for an additional two years:
“Many of the communities in New Jersey’s Urban Enterprise Zones are dealing with violence, substance abuse and abject poverty. For many of their residents, work is a source of hope and stability. Perhaps the Governor would understand this a bit better if, instead of cavalierly condemning the program, he actually spent a little more time in the communities it affects,” said Gusciora.
“Businesses in UEZs give their employees the opportunity not only to earn a paycheck but also to make positive contributions to their communities. These men and women not only can put food on the table and keep the lights on but also can provide their children with a model of hard work and determination. When these businesses leave, they’ll be taking more than just money with them,” he said.
“The Governor once again has turned his back on our struggling urban centers and on the countless business and municipal leaders who reached out urging his support for the UEZ extension,” Muoio stated.
“In a move straight out of the Trump playbook, the Governor is ending this incentive program without having any viable replacement. It is irresponsible and a true economic blow to the cities of Trenton, Newark, Camden, Bridgeton and Plainfield,” she said.
Created in 1986, the state’s UEZ program provides a wide range of benefits to businesses in certain economically and socially depressed areas, most notably allowing them to charge a reduced 3.5 percent sales tax rate. For decades, thousands of businesses around the state have opened up shop, provided jobs and contributed to economic development under the program.