TRENTON – Senator Raymond J. Lesniak, D-Union, the Chairman of the Senate Economic Growth Committee, made the following remarks today concerning his legislation to modify the “Revenue Allocation District Financing Act,” to encourage greater private investment in New Jersey’s communities. The legislation was approved by the Senate Economic Growth Committee today by a vote of 4-0, with one abstention:
“The legislation we are considering today represents nothing less than the future of the State of New Jersey. If it does not pass, we will see the words of Bruce Springsteen’s “My Hometown” come true: These jobs are going boys and they ain’t commin’ back.
“In his recent speech to the Legislature, Governor Corzine proposed a financial recovery package that will spur economic growth, create jobs and lessen the pain of many of our residents in danger of losing their homes. But for that economic recovery to continue and grow, we need the tools in this legislation.
“I am drafting legislation that will reform the Fair Housing Act so we can see affordable housing being built and jobs created for our working families. But for that legislation to succeed, we need the legislation we are considering today.
“Our colleges and universities are the cornerstone of our economy. If we want to retain and attract high paying jobs, and we do, we must help them meet their infrastructure needs. The best companies with the best paying jobs need to partner with the best institutions of higher learning. This legislation will help them meet some of their needs to build and upgrade their facilities.
“Investors have not gone out of the business of investing. They are just in hibernation. This legislation will help wake them up and invest in New Jersey’s future.
“High property taxes have made New Jersey unaffordable for many. This legislation will help our towns increase ratables and ease the property tax burden on homeowners.
“Make no mistake about it, what Joe Biden predicted in a different context, confronts our state today. We are being tested. Our survival as a state literally hangs in the balance.
“Now is not the time to tinker, to worry about upsetting applecarts or to be timid. New Jersey is at a crossroad. If we are bold and visionary, if we choose wisely, we will take the road that leads to the economic Promised Land. If we remain stuck in our ways and choose poorly and stay on the road we’ve been travelling on, we will see a constant deterioration of the quality of life in our state. The consequences are that severe. I kid you not. We are in a crisis and must not stand idly by while our residents suffer.
“This legislation does not get us to the economic Promised Land, but it gives us a road map and paves the way to get there.”