TRENTON - Legislation sponsored by Senator Nellie Pou, Senator Colin Bell and Senator Jeff Van Drew enhancing incentives under the successful Grow New Jersey Assistance Program - and extending the benefits to the Atlantic City Airport area - cleared the Senate today.

The bill, S-2872, would align the Grow NJ tax incentives in all Garden State Growth Zones to help attract more businesses. New Jersey's GSGZ are Paterson, Passaic, Trenton, Atlantic City and Camden. The bill would build on the success of Camden's comeback to provide better tools to other New Jersey cities in need of economic revitalization.

The legislation would also create a new GSGZ located within the boundaries of the Atlantic City International Airport and the Federal Aviation Administration William J. Hughes Technical Center, and the area within a one-mile radius of the outermost boundary of that airport and technical center.

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"This bill allows more companies in the state to utilize incentives to grow, creating jobs and strengthening local economies," said Senator Pou.  "Expanding this program will also help towns and cities attract new businesses which will help many of these areas, such as Paterson, to be able to compete economically with other areas of the state."

"Providing incentives for businesses to locate at the Atlantic City Airport and the surrounding area will help our effort to make this region a hub for aviation. This new designation will provide a real boost for Atlantic County and South Jersey, giving us the tools we need for our economy to thrive," said Senator Bell. "With the Senate approval, this legislation took a major step forward. I'm committed to continuing the work to move it to the finish line."

"We need to do everything possible to diversify Atlantic City's economy," said Senator Van Drew (D-Cape May/Cumberland/Atlantic). "Making businesses in and around Atlantic City Airport eligible for these benefits will no doubt make the area more appealing to new businesses and help in the effort to grow jobs for our residents."

Grow New Jersey is a tax incentive program for companies that create or retain jobs in New Jersey. Since the enactment of the N.J. Economic Opportunity Act of 2013, 233 active projects have been approved under the Grow NJ Program for a total award amount of more than $4.4 billion. According to the EDA, Grow NJ will support the creation of more than 29,400 estimated new jobs and the retention of more than 28,300 existing jobs at risk of leaving New Jersey.

The Senate approved the bill 37-0. It next heads to the Assembly for consideration.