(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Senator Donald Norcross (D-Camden/Gloucester) that makes significant changes to the economic incentives programs administered by the Economic Development Authority has received final approval. The Senate voted today to concur with the Governor’s conditional veto of the bill, which would merge the five existing programs into two, expand their scope and enhance their ability to attract and retain businesses to the state.
In doing so, the formula by which these funds are administered has been revised to better reflect regional differences in population and industry, creating a larger pool of funds for which Southern New Jersey businesses and potential businesses will be eligible. The reorganization also makes it easier for small and medium-sized businesses to take advantage of the programs.
“With significant improvements to public safety, and continued efforts to develop infrastructure, businesses are looking to invest in Camden City,” said Senator Norcross, citing recent reports of a development firm’s proposal to build a World Trade Center at the former Riverfront Prison site. “The Economic Opportunity Act makes Camden and the surrounding area that much more attractive to these and other companies.”
The new formula creates a tiered system based on regional population and business growth potential, freeing up more of those dollars to support balanced development across the state. With the new system in place, companies will be able to access a new source of capital to reinvest in communities.
The system developed in the bill finally creates an equitable formula that promotes growth in the eight southern counties – one that reflects that region’s unique industry and population profiles.
“These incentives are ones our region can actually use,” Senator Norcross said. “I encourage local businesses to take advantage of them as soon as possible.”
An important aspect of the Economic Opportunity Act is the creation of Garden State Growth Zones in Camden, Trenton, Paterson and Passaic. The four cities are identified as having the lowest median family income in the state. Under the bill, businesses investing in these cities will receive more incentives with lower minimum goals, helping the cities compete as attractive locations for development.
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