Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Incentives to Pass Soon?

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Incentives to Pass Soon?

Article excerpt

Democratic legislators on Wednesday dismissed Governor Christie's criticism that they are potentially hurting the state's job creation efforts by leaving a major overhaul of New Jersey's corporate incentive programs in limbo while lawmakers take a summer recess.

The New Jersey Economic Opportunity Act has passed both houses, but the most recent vote, in the Assembly on June 27, the last day of the pre-summer voting session, amended the bill enough that another Senate vote would be needed to approve it.

Now, Sen. Ray Lesniak, D-Union, a sponsor of the bill, says he wants to amend it again, which would require a new vote by the Assembly as well.

The bill would dissolve three programs through which the state awards tax breaks to encourage companies to stay or expand in New Jersey, and put elements of each into the two remaining programs - Grow New Jersey and Economic Redevelopment and Growth. The changes are designed in part to streamline the programs and enable smaller businesses to benefit from them, sponsors say. The bill also provides added incentives for projects in certain cities, including Passaic and Paterson.

Christie on Tuesday blamed the Legislature for failing to enact the law, which the governor has said for weeks that he will sign.

"We worked hard and we were ready to go before the session ended on June 27, and they can't get their act together," Christie said in response to a question about the bill at an event in South River organized to discuss the state's buyback of homes damaged by Superstorm Sandy.

He said the delay in legislative approval is hurting the state's business environment, because businesses don't know what incentives will be available to help with project development in the future.

"People are waiting to see what kind of economic incentives we will have available, to build jobs and retain jobs in New Jersey," he said. …

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