NEWARK — Senator Raymond Lesniak will deliver the following remarks at the Smart Growth Coalition’s membership meeting tonight in Newark.
“Proposals currently moving through the legislature represent nothing less than the future of the State of New Jersey. If revisions to the Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit, the Revenue Allocation District and Affordable Housing bills do not pass, we will see the words of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘My Hometown’ come true: These jobs are going boys and they ain’t comin’ 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 these three legislative proposals.
“Reforming the Fair Housing Act and the Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit Act – so we can see affordable housing being built, help businesses expand and move to New Jersey and create jobs for our working families – has to be first and foremost in our priorities. But for those reforms to succeed, we need to expand Revenue Allocation District financing so the infrastructure requirements of residential, commercial and industrial development can be funded by the growth of future revenues from the development. Neither the private sector nor the public sector, during these troubled economic times, can pay for the infrastructure improvements necessary for economic development. Revenue Allocation District Financing will get that work done.
“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. Public partnerships between our institutions of higher learning and the municipalities where they are located will help them meet some of their needs to build and upgrade their facilities. Revenue Allocation District financing can help those partnerships succeed as well.
“Investors have not gone out of the business of investing. They are just in hibernation. My RAD legislation provides tax credits to help wake them up and invest in high-tech, start-up companies in New Jersey.
“High property taxes have made New Jersey unaffordable for many. The reforms in the three bills 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 apple carts 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 traveling 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.
“These legislative proposals do not get us to the economic Promised Land, but they give us a road map and pave the way to get there.”