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Cruz-Perez & Singleton Bill to Require Community Benefits Agreements Advances

TRENTON- Legislation sponsored by Senate Economic Growth Committee Chair Nilsa Cruz-Perez and Senate Economic Growth Vice Chair Troy Singleton that would authorize political subdivisions to require recipients of economic development incentives to enter into community benefits agreements was passed by the Senate Economic Growth Committee today.

“More often than not we are seeing neighborhoods become revitalized and benefit everyone but the actual residents of those neighborhoods.  Community benefits agreements are a great way to stimulate neighborhoods for the advantage of its residents.” said Senator Cruz-Perez (D-Camden/Gloucester).  “CBAs allow for states and municipalities to revitalize neighborhoods without displacing the local residents.”

The bill, S-2258, would authorize any political subdivision within this State, when entering into an economic development subsidy granting an amount in excess of $100,000 to a developer, to condition the grant proceeds upon the grantee’s promise to enter into a community benefits agreement (CBA). The bill would define subsidy as any bond, grant, loan, loan guarantee, matching fund, tax credit, or other tax expenditure that is provided by local governments.

“Too many cities around the country are pushing poor families out of revitalized neighborhoods.  But CBAs help local residents continue to live in their neighborhoods, all the while allowing communities and their residents to reap the benefits of economic development,” said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington).

Under the bill, a “community benefits agreement” would mean a legally binding contract concerning a specific project which requires contractors and developers of the project to make specific contributions for the benefit of the community including, but not limited to, provisions related to local hiring, area wage and benefits standards, or engaging local businesses for the provision of goods and services.

Organizations in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Indianapolis, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, New York City, Seattle, and Washington D.C. have pursued a community benefits approach to major economic development projects.

The bill was released from committee by a vote of 5-0, and next heads to the full Senate for further consideration.