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Lesniak Economic Stimulus Bill Advances In Budget Committee

TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Raymond J. Lesniak which would jump-start New Jersey’s economy was approved by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee today by a vote of 9-4, with 2 abstentions.

“While the nation and the world have been in a recession for a year, New Jersey’s economy has been lagging behind for years,” said Senator Lesniak, D-Union. “Our nation’s economy expanded from 2003-2007 with private-sector jobs growing by 6.5%. During the 2003-2007 period, New Jersey’s private sector job base grew by only 2.3%.

“Clearly, New Jersey needs a change of direction, not only to climb out of the recession, but to lead the nation in job creation,” added Senator Lesniak. “My economic stimulus bill will do just that. It targets tax credits, suspends fees, paves the way for successful public-private partnerships and creates revenues for economic growth, jump-starting the State’s struggling economy.”

The Senator’s bill, S-2299, known as the “New Jersey Economic Stimulus Act of 2009,” would make various changes to New Jersey’s business growth and retention policies in order to stimulate the economy. The bill would create an Economic Redevelopment and Growth Grant program to encourage developers to invest in qualifying economic redevelopment areas around the State; would authorize Newark and Elizabeth to impose a rental car tax and administrative fees through local ordinance to fund local redevelopment activities; and would expand the New Jersey Emerging Technology and Biotechnology Financial Assistance Program, which supports small technology businesses in approved innovation zones, to technology companies anywhere in the State.

The bill also makes more businesses eligible for the Transit Hub Tax Credit program; suspends the Non-Residential Developer Fee imposed last year by affordable housing legislation; appropriates $15 million to the State Affordable Housing Trust Fund, and makes provisions to allow municipalities to be relieved of their affordable housing obligations whenever the Non-Residential Developer Fee is not imposed and there isn’t enough funding in the Affordable Housing Trust Fund to assist in the production of affordable units; allows State Universities and Colleges to submit long-term facilities plans and contract with private entities to assume full financial and administrative responsibility for an on-campus project; and would allow recycled material manufacturing companies to obtain a tax credit for the cost of taxes and surcharges on energy and utility service.

“Our State’s business policies have too often discouraged job creation and do not have redevelopment incentives necessary to create the sort of economic stimulus we need here in the Garden State,” said Senator Lesniak. “My bill provides the incentives needed to attract billions in private investment and create tens of thousands of construction and permanent jobs in New Jersey.”

The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

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