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Mazzeo & Armato Bill to Help NJ Farmers Offset Business Expenses, Create Housing for Farm Workers Passes Assembly Committee

(TRENTON) – The Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee on Monday approved legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Vince Mazzeo and John Armato (both D-Atlantic) to help New Jersey farmers offset the costs of doing business and create needed housing for farm workers by providing farmers a tax incentive to build worker housing.

“Adequate housing can be hard to come by for farm workers, especially those who work seasonally,” said Mazzeo. “This legislation would benefit workers and their families by creating more housing opportunities, as well as support farmers by providing a stable workforce.”

The bill (A-2703) would establish credits against the corporation business and gross income taxes for qualified farmers who develop housing for their agricultural workforce. The amount of available credit would be 50 percent of the approved qualified costs incurred and paid by the farmer to construct, install, acquire or rehabilitate the housing. This includes the costs of acquisition, finance, construction, installation, materials, permits and capital expenditures for rehabilitation.

“Agriculture is an expensive business,” said Armato. “Farmers who utilize the credits established under this bill would be able to build new housing or rehabilitate existing structures to both meet the needs of their workers and improve their bottom lines.”

Farmers intending to claim the credit would apply to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Once approved, they may claim a portion of the available credit within nine years of completing the housing project. The housing must continue to be used as agricultural workforce housing during any taxable year or privilege period for which the credit is claimed.

The measure now goes to the Assembly Speaker for further review.