TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senate President Steve Sweeney and Senator Jeff Van Drew to create a Garden State Growth Zone at Atlantic City International Airport and surrounding areas was conditionally vetoed by Governor Murphy today.
“Atlantic City’s future is predicated on a diversified economy and to build that takes time,” said Senator Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “The governor’s conditional veto today hurts that by opening a window of opportunity for a year and then closing it tight. That is not how you develop a region. The International Airport can play a significant role as an aviation hub for the entire region, supporting the expansion of the aviation industry, the business community and educational institutions. Stockton University is the anchor to a new university zone in Atlantic City and an ‘aviation zone’ around the airport could spur similar activity. A one-year extension for aviation businesses to apply for enhanced incentives is too limiting.”
“I am profoundly disappointed that this bill was not signed into law,” said Senator Van Drew (D-Cape May/Atlantic/Cumberland). “Atlantic City regional growth would have benefited from this program. Economic zones have helped spur development across the state. This was an opportunity for innovation, aviation educational research and economic development in South Jersey. The airport’s proximity to educational institutions, including the new Stockton University campus being built in Atlantic City, creates enormous potential for development of new aviation technology that will put the Atlantic City region in the forefront of the aviation industry. While casinos and tourism are the main drivers for the area’s economy, we need to diversify into other industries to expand the local economy. I have spoken to the governor, and he is committed to working with us to achieve this goal in a different way.”
Under the Grow New Jersey Assistance Program and the Economic Redevelopment and Growth Grant Program, qualified business located in a Garden State Growth Zone benefit from enhanced incentives offered only to businesses located in GSGZs. The state currently has five designated Garden State Growth Zones: Atlantic City, Camden, Passaic, Paterson, and Trenton.
The bill, S-2307, would have created a new Garden State Growth Zone within an “aviation district,” which is defined to mean all areas within the boundaries of the Atlantic City International Airport and the Federal Aviation Administration William J. Hughes Technical Center, and the area within a one-mile radius of the outermost boundary of that airport and technical center.
The legislation would have extended the deadline for applications three years, from July 1, 2018 to July 1, 2022 for businesses in an aviation district to apply for enhanced incentives under the program.