Seeks Bipartisanship To Solve State’s Economic Woes
TRENTON – Senate President Steve Sweeney today announced that the Senate will spend the next several months seeking to implement a series of economic measures that will help jumpstart the state’s sagging economy. Recently released figures show unemployment in New Jersey to be at 9.5%, still above the national average.
“New Jersey is failing to make any gains in our fight against the sluggish economy. The people of this state need employment opportunities and our small businesses need investment. The time to act is now. These bills represent a great opportunity to put people back to work and get our economy moving again. By implementing these measures, we can begin to turn back the tide of our slumping economy and make New Jersey a powerhouse and example to the rest of the country,” said Sweeney.
The package will include existing legislation, previously discussed ideas and newly developed concepts that incorporate outside the box thinking. Some currently existing bills that will be included are:
S-3033, which calls for the establishment of the Grow New Jersey Assistance Program to provide tax credits to certain businesses;
S-2005, which provides sales and use tax exemptions for wind energy equipment;
S-1949, which provides an energy tax exemption for manufacturers;
S-1885, which allows corporation business tax and gross income deductions for the amount of net interest received on loans to certain qualified UEZ businesses;
S-1015, which allows corporation business tax and gross income tax credits to businesses providing employment to certain National Guard members or reservists.
Among the previously discussed concepts are;
Permit small, women or minority owned businesses located in designated regional centers to qualify for Economic Development Authority (EDA) loans;
Provide credits against certain taxes for investing in New Jersey emerging technology businesses;
Direct EDA and Commission on Higher Education to promote the establishment of higher education and business partnerships.
Among some of the new concepts developed include;
Establishment of a Small Business Loan Program, where businesses of 10 to 99 employees would be eligible for two percent interest rate loans of up to $250,000 to expand their enterprise, if the business commits to increasing its overall employment by at least 10 percent;
Establish a Hospital Facility Grant Program to encourage investment in vacant hospital buildings;
Dedicate a small percentage of the sales tax revenue generated in UEZs to support the EDA’s Food Access Initiative, which supports developing new supermarkets in urban areas;
Expand the Business Action Center to include market research and other business consulting assistance.
The Senate President hopes to work with colleagues across the aisle and the governor in order to get the economy moving again. Many of the existing measures included have Republican sponsors.
“The only way we are going to get out of this is by working together. We saw earlier in the year that Democrats and Republicans can do this for the greater good of our state. It is my sincere hope that my colleagues on the other side will join us in this effort. I also hope to work with the governor on these initiatives. At the end of the day, it’s not about taking credit for who did what. It is about getting New Jersey back to work again,” said Sweeney.
The Senate President hopes to begin moving on the legislation package in the coming weeks, with further details to emerge as bills and ideas are developed.