On December 18, the Senate Budget and Appropriation Committee and the Assembly Appropriations Committee favorably released the economic growth tax incentive legislation. The legislation, A-4/S-3295 establishes the "New Jersey Economic Recovery Act of 2020" and includes a total cap of $11.5 billion over six years for a variety of different incentive programs.
The legislation creates several programs including the NJ Emerge program, which takes the place of the Grow New Jersey program and proposes the NJ Aspire program, which replaces the Economic Redevelopment and Growth (ERG) gap financing program.
CCSNJ President and CEO Christina Renna and Government Affairs Manager Hilary Chebra in their respective testimony before both Committees shared their support for the bill, specifically the language around transformational projects, which will give government the wiggle room often needed to get high-value deals done. Additionally, the Chamber was pleased to see the geographic considerations in the bill, with 35 percent of the spend designated to South Jersey, which assures not just one area of the state reaps the benefits of these new programs.
The CCSNJ also praised the crucial language relating to food desert communities, which will incentivize food retailers to locate their operations within these communities will be the lifeline several urban communities in NJ need to provide access for healthy and nutritious food options.
As written, the legislation also contains $50 million for Main Street Recovery Finance Program. Although appreciative of this allocation, the CCSNJ argued in its testimony that the Legislature could and should go further to help small businesses who need assistance the most in order to grow, especially given the pandemic’s impact on operations.
The CCSNJ urged the Legislature to also focus on the laborious nature of these programs, which often times serves as the main deterrent for businesses to take advantage of government run programs. While the CCSNJ agrees with the more stringent oversight mechanisms in the legislation, in its testimony the CCSNJ argued that that if it is harder for businesses to apply for, and then comply with, these programs, they will become less appealing, and therefore effective.
The legislation is scheduled for a full floor session vote in both chambers on Monday, December 21, started at 11 a.m. in the Assembly and 12 p.m. in the Senate. The legislation is expected to pass.
If you have any questions, please contact Hilary Chebra, Manager of Government Affairs at email@example.com.