Assembly Panel Advances Economic Development Bills

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats that is intended to spur economic development was released Monday by an Assembly panel.

The bills would:

  • Establish the Grow New Jersey Assistance Program tax credit incentive program for New Jersey-based companies that retain and create new jobs. (A-4306)
  • Create a loan program within the New Jersey Economic Development Authority to help small businesses expand. (A-4336)
  • Establish the New Jersey Business Action Center to help New Jersey-based companies stay competitive. (A-4337)

“We cannot rest easy when unemployment continues to hover above 9 percent,” said Assemblyman Daniel R. Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex.) “We need to do more, and this legislation aims to ensure New Jersey businesses are as competitive as possible so they can thrive and create new jobs. Strengthening our economy to ensure residents can find work is a priority.”

One bill would create a new tax credit for businesses under the Grow New Jersey Assistance Program, expand the existing Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit program and make revisions to the Business Retention and Relocation Assistance Grant Program.

Under the new tax credit program, a business will receive a tax credit for making a minimum $20 million capital investment in a business facility and creating or retaining at least 100 full-time positions in a qualified area, but only if the project yields a positive fiscal net benefit to the State and if the business applies for the credit before July 1, 2014.

A qualified area is a vacant commercial building having over 400,000 square feet of office, laboratory or industrial space available; an area designated for development within the Highlands, Meadowlands and Pinelands; Fort Monmouth; and areas designated as metropolitan, suburban) or as an urban, regional or town center under the State Development and Redevelopment Plan.

Another bill would require the EDA to establish a small business loan program offering low interest loans of up to $250,000 to eligible small businesses for purposes that increase total employment. Generally, the interest rate on the loans would be 2 percent; if the loan results in a greater increase in employment or the target increase is met more quickly, the authority could allow the rate to fall below 2 percent.

The final bill would officially create the New Jersey Business Action Center within the Department of State. The center is intended to be the state’s liaison to the business community and provide information about state financial and incentive programs; state taxes; permits, licenses, certificates and other governmental approvals; state regulations; available commercial real estate and international trade.

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