Assemblyman Annette Quijano (D-Union) today took the Christie administration to task for abandoning the needs of New Jersey’s urban cities by recommending the dismantling of one of the main drivers of revitalization – the state’s Urban Enterprise Zone Program (UEZ).
Quijano, who represents two Urban Enterprise Zones – Elizabeth and Roselle, pointed to tangible proof of the program’s success in her district and throughout the state.
“To call for the dismantling of this program is nothing short of foolish. If any bureaucratic inefficiencies exist, then fix them. But don’t leave our urban cities to flounder without any economic revitalization engine.
“For nearly three decades this program has helped revitalize some of our most hard-hit urban cities. With nearly 1,000 participating businesses, the Elizabeth UEZ has the highest participation rate in the state. It has spurred nearly $2 billion in economic development and, as a result, has helped reinvest more than $50 million into the city through the sales tax generated by the program.
“Without the UEZ program, many of our urban cities would be ghost towns today. In the 1970’s and ’80’s when the mall industry exploded and manufacturing companies fled for greener pastures, our urban cities were left to wither and die without any impetus for revitalization.
“Along came the UEZ program and we started to see once vacant and abandoned downtowns blossom again, new streetscapes were created and old factories were transformed into newly productive businesses. And more importantly, this transformation created much-needed jobs and revenue. This is all due to the tax incentives provided through the UEZ.”