Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Gary S. Schaer, Tim Eustace, Daniel Benson and Eliana Pintor Marin to help attract and retain pharmaceutical and clinical research companies to New Jersey was approved by the Assembly on Thursday.
“New Jersey was once known as the ‘medicine chest of the world,’ but New Jersey has increasingly lost numerous companies and countless jobs to California, Massachusetts, North Carolina and other states,” said Schaer (D-Bergen/Passaic). “This legislation would help us regain our competitive edge in a burgeoning market that holds tremendous benefits in terms of high-quality jobs and the overall investment in the surrounding community that typically accompanies them.”
The bill (A-4518) would allow certain large development projects which involve either a business engaged in the research, development or manufacture of drugs and medical devices or a business licensed to provide clinical laboratory services to qualify as mega projects under the Grow New Jersey Assistance Act (GROW NJ). If a project qualifies for mega project status, the value of the GROW NJ tax credits would increase.
“This would be a win-win for New Jersey because it provides large corporations with the incentive to establish themselves here and would create a boon in terms of jobs and revenue for our state,” said Eustace (D-Bergen). “We already have a highly-educated workforce. Now it’s time for the state to invest in that workforce by backing these incentives.”
Under the bill, these types of projects would qualify as mega projects if they involve either capital investments in excess of $20 million and the creation or retention of more than 250 full-time employees; or the creation or retention of more than 1,000 full-time employees.
“Pharmaceutical and biomedical facilities have long been a staple of our economy but they’ve been threatened increasingly in recent years by poaching from other states,” said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “This change would provide the incentive for companies to locate good, high-paying jobs here in New Jersey once again.”
“Our best and brightest will go wherever they can find opportunity, and unfortunately, too many are feeling like that place just isn’t New Jersey,” said Pintor Marin (D-Essex). “This legislation will help mitigate the brain drain by making sure that good jobs that allow them to put their skills to use are available right here at home.”
Currently, the following types of projects may qualify as a mega project under the Grow New Jersey Assistance Program:
- A logistics, manufacturing, energy, defense, or maritime business in a port district or a business in the aviation industry located in an aviation district having:
· a capital investment in excess of $20 million at which more than 250 jobs will be created or retained; or
· at which more than 1,000 jobs will be created or retained.
- A qualified business facility located in an urban transit hub, having a capital investment in excess of $50 million and at which more than 250 full time employees of a business are created or retained; or
- A project located in an existing area designated in need of redevelopment within Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Ocean, or Salem counties having a capital investment in excess of $20 million, and at which more than 150 full-time employees are created or retained.
The bill was passed 72-6 by the Assembly.