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McKnight, Verrelli & Sumter Bill to Establish ‘Urban Wealth Fund Pilot Program’ Passes Assembly Committee

Helping local governments identify undervalued publicly owned assets and utilize them to generate revenue, legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Angela McKnight, Anthony Verrelli, and Shavonda Sumter to establish the “Urban Wealth Fund Pilot Program” cleared the Assembly Community Development and Affairs Committee on Monday.

The pilot program, established under the bill (A-5035), would aim to identify these publicly owned assets and place them in an urban wealth fund run by a professional asset management firm. Revenue generated by the urban wealth fund would be allocated for public use, and local governments could use it to assist minority-owned businesses, improve infrastructure, invest in education, and reduce property taxes.

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) would be required to establish program guidelines and criteria to evaluate assets for inclusion in the program. The EDA would also be responsible for notifying municipalities of the opportunity to participate in the program and delivering a report on the pilot program’s success.

Upon the bill advancing, Assembly sponsors McKnight (D-Hudson), Verrelli (D-Mercer, Hunterdon) and Sumter (D-Bergen, Passaic) released the following joint statement:

“The Urban Wealth Fund Pilot Program has the potential to make a huge difference in the communities where funding is so desperately needed. Giving local governments throughout the State the opportunity to generate revenue from assets they already own is a creative solution to address the funding needs of our communities. As towns work to recover from the pandemic, they will need to look at all resources available to them. Many New Jersey communities stand to benefit from this program’s success.”

The bill now heads to the Speaker for further consideration.