Mazzeo Bill Bringing Urban Enterprise Zone & Property Tax Relief to Atlantic City Approved by Assembly

(TRENTON) – Legislation Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo sponsored to create jobs, spark economic development and provide vital property tax relief by creating an Urban Enterprise Zone for Atlantic City was approved 55-18 Thursday by the Assembly.
“This is a common sense step to create economic growth that will help revitalize Atlantic City by encouraging businesses to develop and create private sector jobs through public and private investment,” said Mazzeo (D-Atlantic). “We need jobs. We need investment. We need economic development. And we need property tax relief for hard-working families. This brings all four to Atlantic City and will be another vital step toward bringing a new day to the city built around economic prosperity for everyone.”
The UEZ Program – first created in 1983 – offers participating businesses incentives that encourage business growth and stimulate local economies. Approximately 6,800 certified UEZ businesses participate and benefit from the advantages of the UEZ program statewide. These include a number of tax and other financial incentives.
Under the bill (A-3920), Atlantic City would be New Jersey’s 33rd Urban Enterprise Zone, and under Mazzeo’s bill it would also help generate property tax relief for Atlantic City residents.
“This is part of the cure for the negative economic conditions experienced by Atlantic City over the past few years,” Mazzeo said. “I will not stand idle while successful programs such as this are available to help reinvigorate Atlantic City. This bill is, quite simply, the right thing to do for the businesses and residents – and the future – of Atlantic City. The incentives this program would bring – along with the sorely needed property tax relief – will be another tool in our rebuilding of the city as a tourism resort we all know it can become.”
Urban Enterprise Zones include benefits such as:
· Businesses participating in the UEZ program can charge half the standard sales tax rate on certain purchases, currently 3.5 percent;
· UEZ businesses may enjoy tax exemptions on certain purchases, including capital equipment acquired and investments made to build a new facility, expand or upgrade an existing facility;
· For each new permanent full-time employee hired, businesses may receive a one-time $1,500 tax credit;
· Alternatively, the UEZ Program allows a tax credit against the Corporate Business Tax up to 8 percent of qualified investments within the zone;
· Businesses may be eligible for priority financial assistance;
· Employers may benefit from subsidized unemployment insurance costs for certain employees who earn less than $4,500 per quarter; and
· Electricity and natural gas sales tax exemption on consumption within an enterprise zone by manufacturing firms with at least 250 employees, over 50 percent of whom are in a manufacturing process.
The UEZ program has supported more than 133,000 full-time jobs and attracted $31.6 billion in private investment to its participating communities.
“We know Urban Enterprise Zones work,” Mazzeo sad. “They’re proven job creators and economic engines. I see no reason why Atlantic City should not be part of this program.”
The bill would authorize the creation of an urban enterprise zone in the city of Atlantic City for a term of 10 years.
The zone authorized pursuant to the bill would be required to be designated within 90 days of the date of the submittal of an application and zone development plan by the municipality.
A business operating as a casino would not be eligible for the benefits of an eligible business under the UEZ program, but a business operating on casino property not owned by a casino business may be eligible if it otherwise meets the criteria for business eligibility.
During the first five years, all of the sales and use tax revenues collected are to be appropriated for use by Atlantic City, and during the final five years, 66.5 percent of the revenues collected are to be appropriated for use by Atlantic City.
“These revenues are to be used by Atlantic City to provide local property tax relief,” Mazzeo said. “This bill won’t fix every problem, but it certainly will help residents and businesses alike, all while creating jobs and economic development. That will go a long way toward easing the burden faced by Atlantic City residents and businesses.”
The bill will now be referred to the Senate.