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Muoio on Christie Veto of UEZ Extension Bill: This is a “devastating blow for urban cities”

Assemblywoman Elizabeth Maher Muoio on Wednesday called Gov. Christie’s conditional veto of legislation she sponsored to extend the Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ) program for another 10 years a “devastating blow for urban cities.”

“It’s obvious the Governor doesn’t understand the realities of struggling urban cities. Between his new school funding proposal and now this veto, it’s clear that he either doesn’t get it or doesn’t have much concern for the challenges they face.

“Over the years, the UEZ program has helped attract both new businesses and consumers and provided a much-needed boost for cites struggling to reinvigorate once-thriving business districts. It makes little economic sense to suddenly halt this momentum.

“This ‘conditional’ veto essentially guts the bill and terminates the UEZ program. The more practical solution would have been to extend the program while the study commission he recommended explores alternatives. This would at least allow cities time to prepare and adjust.

“This is a devastating blow for our urban cities that have come to rely on these economic incentives to remain competitive with neighboring towns. I’m hopeful that my colleagues and I can find a solution to bring this program back to life,” said Muoio (D-Mercer/Hunterdon).

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 financial incentives, including tax credits to hire local workers and a reduced sales tax on purchases made at participating businesses, which is then funneled back to the towns in the form of grants to invest in economic development projects.

Muoio’s legislation (A-2576) would have extended the UEZ designation in participating cities for another 10 years.