Lagana, Burzichelli, Schaer & DeAngelo Bill to Convert EDA Incentive Program from Grant to Tax Credit Heads to Gov

Legislation sponsored by Assemblymen Joseph Lagana, John Burzichelli, Gary Schaer and Wayne DeAngelo to facilitate the distribution of funds from a former state program that supported job creators in New Jersey gained final legislative approval on Thursday.

“Overall, given New Jersey’s budget process, it’s just more efficient to distribute tax credits than it is to give businesses cash grants,” said Lagana (D-Bergen/Passaic). “This legislation promotes an alternative way for New Jersey to assist businesses that are creating jobs and improving our economy.”

The bill (A-4834) would amend current law so that businesses due to receive Business Employment Incentive Program (BEIP) grants may receive tax credits instead. Under the bill, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) would convert the grant to a refundable tax credit against the business’s corporate, gross income or insurance premium tax liability.

“The Business Employment Incentive Program was designed to bolster the state’s economy by supporting employers who create new opportunities,” said Burzichelli (D-Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem) “This legislation will ensure that the state honors its promise to the businesses it owes.”

“The bottom line is that the state committed to helping business owners in New Jersey, and it can’t turn its back on that commitment,” said Schaer (D-Bergen/Passaic). “If we expect to attract and retain employers, we must take seriously the obligation to the businesses that make up the foundation of this state’s economy.”

“BEIP was a tool New Jersey made available to draw business owners in, put our residents to work and bolster the economy,” said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “This legislation will facilitate the state’s effort to honor the commitments it made via the program.”

Launched in 1996, BEIP was intended to support the creation of new jobs. Funding cuts in recent years have forced the state to put the program on hold. The program stopped accepting new applications in September 2013.

To have qualified for a BEIP grant, a business must have created at least 25 new jobs within a two-year period. For emerging high technology and biotech companies, the eligibility threshold was 10 new jobs.

The bill was approved 64-2-1 by the Assembly and now goes to the governor’s desk.