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Program Elimination Would Decimate Urban, Minority Businesses in New Jersey

(TRENTON) — Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Mercer) issued the following statement Thursday in response to a report issued by the Christie administration that calls for the elimination of the state’s Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ) program by June, the end of the state’s fiscal year:

“That Gov. Christie’s hand-picked taskforce would call for the elimination of New Jersey’s Urban Enterprise Zone program, which has successfully encouraged businesses — from big box stores to local bodegas — to set up shop in our cities proves two things.

“First, it shows that the governor is not content merely to wage class warfare against middle class families. In commissioning this report, he has also signaled his willingness to engage in a geographic war against New Jersey’s urban areas.

“Second, and more importantly, it shows in black and white that this governor is not serious about preserving jobs in the state.

“Eliminating the UEZ program will almost certainly stall any new business development in our cities and will likely lead to small and minority owned businesses in our urban centers closing their doors for good, depriving the state of revenue and pushing more hard working families onto the unemployment rolls. It also will lead to a sales tax increase on low-income urban residents.

“This report also doubles as the latest salvo in Gov. Christie’s sustained attack against the City of Trenton. Calling for the elimination of UEZs is a kick in the teeth to Trenton residents, who have already suffered through Gov. Christie’s elimination of Capitol City aid in last year’s budget and, more recently, were left off the list of priority projects put forth by the Schools Development Authority.

“If this is Gov. Christie’s definition of ‘The New Normal,’ then working class New Jerseyans are in for rough days ahead.”