TRENTON, NJ – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Eliana Pintor Marin, Raj Mukherji and Reed Gusciora to extend Urban Enterprise Zones (UEZ) for 10 years, including reviving the ones in Bridgeton, Camden, Newark, Plainfield and Trenton, and to require a report on the effectiveness of the program was advanced Thursday by an Assembly panel.

The bill (A-3549) extends the duration of each zone for ten years starting 90 days after the effective date of the bill. This extension will reactivate the five UEZs that expired in Bridgeton, Camden, Newark, Plainfieldpdf and Trenton.  

The UEZ Program that was created in 1983 offers participating businesses incentives that encourage business growth and stimulate local economies. 

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“The UEZ program has produced a tremendous amount of benefits for many towns and residents throughout our state, including Newark,” said Pintor Marin (D-Essex). “Given the results it has already provided and how many more towns could benefit from it, it deserves to be extended.”

“Urban Enterprise Zones have been an integral part of urban revitalization for many years now,” said Mukherji (D-Hudson).  “Extending their designation will help many cities remain economically competitive while spurring job growth and economic development.”

“Over the years, the Urban Enterprise Zone program has helped attract both new businesses and consumers alike, and has helped revitalize cites struggling to reinvigorate once-thriving business districts,” said Gusciora (D-Mercer/Hunterdon). “It makes little economic sense to have halted this momentum.  By extending this designation, we can help these towns continue their renaissance.”

Under the bill, qualifying retail businesses in UEZs may continue to charge and collect the state’s sales and use tax at one-half of the normal rate. The bill also provides that, after dedicating 10 percent of UEZ sales and use tax revenues for administration of the UEZ program, the remaining revenues would be divided equally for UEZ purposes and General Fund purposes. The bill specifies that UEZ purposes are limited to economic development and job creation purposes.

Approximately 6,800 certified UEZ businesses participate and benefit from the advantages of the UEZ program statewide. These include a number of tax and financial incentives, including tax credits to hire local workers.

Another bill (A-3551) also released on Monday directs the NJ UEZ Authority to review and analyze the UEZ program and issue a report on the findings and recommendations to the governor and the Legislature.  It’s sponsored by Pintor Marin, Mukherji and Gusciora.

The authority is required to complete and transmit the report to the governor and the Legislature no later than the date that the governor delivers the budget message for fiscal year 2020. 

Both bills were released by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.