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Weinberg Bill To Expand Loan Program For Small, Minority And Women-Owned Businesses Approved By Budget And Appropriations Committee

Measure Would Qualify More Businesses for EDA-Backed Loans

TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Loretta Weinberg which would expand the eligibility for New Jersey-based small, women-owned, or minority-owned businesses to receive Economic Development Authority (EDA)-backed loans reserved for businesses in designated urban centers passed the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee with a vote of 10-0-1.

“The urban center loan program has helped to create and sustain businesses within New Jersey’s urban communities. By using this working model to allow small businesses and women- and minority-owned businesses to participate, we can encourage redevelopment and economic revitalization outside of our state’s cities,” Senator Weinberg (D-Bergen) said.

The bill, S-3066, would qualify small, women-owned or minority-owned New Jersey-based businesses, manufacturers, redevelopers or nonprofit organizations located in designated regional centers or Planning Area 1 of the New Jersey Development and Redevelopment Plan for any direct loans that the EDA currently makes available for small, women-owned and minority-owned businesses in urban centers.

Under the State Plan, there are nine designated urban centers, characterized by high population density and providing a focus for the region’s economy, transportation system and governmental functions: Asbury Park, Atlantic City, Camden, Elizabeth, Jersey City, New Brunswick, Newark, Paterson and Trenton. By way of contrast, the 12 regional centers – Ocean City, The Wildwoods, Bridgeton, Millville-Vineland, Woolwich, Princeton, Long Branch, Red Bank, Stafford, Salem, Bridgewater-Raritan-Somerville, and Newton – and the communities within Planning Area 1 – communities with strong ties to the New York/Newark/Jersey City, Philadelphia/Camden/Trenton and Easton/Phillipsburg Metropolitan Regions – offer more variety in terms of character and size, mixing residential, commercial and public use, but still serve as important economic centers for the surrounding area.

“New Jersey residents and businesses are feeling the strain of the sustained recession and economic downturn,” Senator Weinberg said. “Through this legislation, we can expand assistance to small, women- and minority-owned businesses outside of our city centers and encourage growth, so that they may in turn spur job creation and invest in our recovering communities.”

The bill mirrors an earlier proposal which was vetoed by Governor Christie this past winter. The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

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