(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Troy Singleton, Herb Conaway, Jr., M.D., Paul D. Moriarty, Jerry Green and Pamela Lampitt to provide loans to small businesses to cover costs recently passed the full Assembly 74-4. The measure will now head to the Senate for further consideration.
“For small businesses, finding ways to keep costs down is important in today’s economy,” said Singleton (D-Burlington). “Ensuring that small business owners are afforded the tools to conserve energy where they can is a good investment of State resources.”
“In this economy, small business owners are looking for options to ‘go green’ but can’t always finance the first step,” said Conaway (D-Burlington). “This bill would help business owners who are looking to improve their business and lower energy costs make that a reality.”
“Energy efficiency is just one way to trim the costs of running a business,” said Moriarty. “The program under this bill would serve as a vehicle for small businesses to find out what needs to be done to achieve energy efficiency and also to help get it done.”
“Small businesses are the backbone of New Jersey’s economy,” said Green (D-Middlesex Somerset and Union). “This bill would help these businesses manage their energy costs more effectively and become more environmentally friendly.”
“Many small businesses are very interested in learning how they can reduce their carbon footprint and become more environmentally conscious,” said Lampitt (D-Camden, Burlington). “It is often the initial costs of performing an energy audit that often deters businesses from “going green” right away. With a loan program, small businesses would be able to get started and become more energy efficient sooner rather than later.”
The bill (A-2270) requires the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, in consultation with the Board of Public Utilities and the Department of Community Affairs, to establish and administer a program that makes one or more low-interest loans available to an eligible small business for 100 percent of any otherwise unreimbursed costs for (1) an energy audit of any of the business’s buildings conducted by a contractor licensed by the board, and (2) the purchase and installation of all energy efficiency or conservation equipment at any of those buildings as a result of the energy audit.
The program in this bill is modeled after the Burlington County Bridge Commission’s “Greenbacks to Go Green” program, which uses shared services to encourage local governments to identify and implement cost-effective energy conservation measures to save taxpayer dollars.