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Madden Bill To Stimulate Economic Growth Clears Senate Budget Committee

Legislation Calls For Creation of Closing Fund

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Fred H. Madden (D-Camden, Gloucester) that would establish the “New Jersey Closing Fund” to help spur economic development in the state was approved today by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. The bill was one of several job creation and economic growth measures passed by the committee today.

“Far too many of our fellow New Jerseyans are either unemployed or underemployed, and our business climate must improve,” said Senator Madden. “The creation of the ‘New Jersey Closing Fund’ will help spur both job creation and economic growth. It will create a friendly business climate in the state and encourage businesses to come here and stay here. This measure, along with the various additional economic growth bills going through the Legislature, will go a long way towards getting New Jersey back on the right track.”

The bill, S-2545, would establish the “New Jersey Closing Fund” under the jurisdiction of the State Treasurer and administered by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA). The fund would stimulate economic activity by encouraging and promoting the retention and expansion of existing business and industry within New Jersey, and by creating and attracting new business and industry to the state. To the extent funding is available, the bill would authorize the Treasurer to grant an award under the fund to projects that will significantly benefit New Jersey and that require additional resources as an inducement to locate or remain in the state.

The bill would limit the total amount of funds that can be awarded to no more than $50 million in one fiscal year. Individually, an award issued could not exceed $1 for every $4 of private capital investment in an approved project by the applicant or any of its affiliates.

Additionally, under an amendment proposed by Senator and Committee Chairman Paul Sarlo (D-Bergen, Essex, Passaic), the Joint Budget Oversight Committee (JBOC) would have 30 days to review any recommendations of funded projects made by the Treasurer. During the 30 days, JBOC could expedite, approve or disapprove a project. If JBOC made no decision after 30 days, the project would move forward. This would ensure legislative oversight over the commitment of taxpayer dollars.

Factors that will be used to determine awards include the number of full-time jobs to be created, retained or both, the quality of the full-time jobs to be created, retained or both, the economic conditions of the region where the project is located, the nature of the project, including the type of designated industry facility comprised in the project, the amount of capital investment in the project, the strategic importance of the project to the region, whether the project is located in a designated urban center, smart growth area, or brownfield site; and the financial strength and past operations of the applicant.

The legislation now moves to the full Senate for consideration.