Hamilton Township – Senate President Steve Sweeney and Senators M. Teresa Ruiz and Paul Sarlo today praised the enactment of legislation that would authorize over $14 billion in tax incentives to spur economic growth.
Senate Bill 3295, the Economic Recovery Act of 2020 sponsored by Senators Ruiz and Sarlo, will create an independent Inspector-General to monitor the grant programs, guarantee that local communities benefit from the projects, and continue the existing Economic Redevelopment and Growth (ERG) program to wrap up pending applications that have been in limbo for 18 months.
“Renewal of New Jersey’s tax incentive program was essential to ensuring our state’s competitiveness in attracting and retaining jobs and businesses in our global economy,” Senate President Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland), said at the bill-signing ceremony today.
“I am pleased that the compromise we reached includes a sufficiently high cap on total incentives to enable New Jersey to compete for mega-projects and that it ensures that all regions and sectors of our state will benefit from the various programs. I would like to thank Senators Ruiz and Sarlo, former Senator Ray Lesniak, who served as our special counsel, and my partner, Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin for working together to bring this legislation to fruition,” Senator Sweeney said.
Senator Ruiz (D-Essex), the prime sponsor, said the legislation would spur economic growth in a responsible manner.
“This is comprehensive legislation which will grow new industries and foster innovation around the state. It will create greater investment in our communities by providing further incentives to locate in distressed municipalities, build affordable housing and redevelop brownfields,” said Senator Ruiz. “This law will help increase access to employment in high-growth industries, drive sustainable economic development and most importantly help our state to recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This effort is balanced in its approach, it will ensure responsible investment, greater oversight and tangible community benefits.”
Senator Sarlo (D-Bergen/Passaic), the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee chair and co-prime sponsor of the bill, praised the incentives plan.
“This legislation provides the tax incentives we will need to spur business and job growth as we come out of a pandemic crisis that has devastated broad sectors of our economy,” said Senator Sarlo. “Most importantly, it will provide tax incentives to attract the jobs we want – jobs that pay high salaries in cutting edge industries that will transform communities, partner with our higher education sector on R&D, provide valuable job training and be good corporate citizens.”
Former Senator Ray Lesniak, who served as special counsel to the Senate Majority Office in developing the new tax incentive legislation, extolled the new program.
“This has the makings of the most powerful economic development program in America,” said Lesniak, a former chair of the Senate Economic Growth Committee. “It’s not just an economic program, it is also a social justice program. It will help build affordable housing, rehabilitate historic tourism attractions in our cities, and will bring less costly and nutritious food to low-income areas, currently called food deserts. It will turn Brownfields into productive uses. In some cases, the state will partner with a business to help it grow and will participate in that growth. It will provide assistance to small businesses hurt by the pandemic.”