Twilight of the UEZ
Sometimes there are hurdles that we have to overcome as a community. Many of these may seem insurmountable, but we are always seeking alternatives, and when one door closes we will find another to open.
Sadly, Governor Chris Christie decided not to take action on legislation delivered to his office that would have extended the UEZ program for Plainfield, Newark, Camden, Bridgeton, and Trenton. So effective January 01, 2017 the sales tax for businesses in the five (5) municipalities has changed from 3.5 percent to 6.875 percent. A two-year extension was proposed for these five municipalities which the Governor also vetoed.
Governor Christie showed that he lacked a fundamental understanding of the successful economic benefits which many municipalities gained from this program.
In direct Contradiction to Christie's characterization of the program as a failure, the state Department of Community Affairs website touts the successes of the program with “approximately 5,700 and growing certified UEZ businesses [that] participate and benefit from the advantages of the UEZ Program.”
The assertion by the Governor that the Urban Enterprise extension bill, or the program itself, would have a “devastating impact" on state revenue is not based on any actual evidence. Funds he took from the UEZ program would be the only thing being returned, which are tax dollars raised by businesses in the UEZ communities, to begin. Since its inception, the program has raised and circulated millions of dollars in local communities. The program gave sales tax breaks to shoppers and offered direct funding, tax credits and technical assistance for businesses
Here in Plainfield, we have been able to attract investors and new businesses because of the direct tax benefits associated with the program. UEZ funds have helped existing businesses make their facades more inviting and helped with improvements and expansion. The local business community was able to attract customers from neighboring towns helping to increase commerce traffic. The UEZ was a direct stimulant of our local economy. In other words, it was working the way it was intended here in Plainfield.
Despite this setback, our economy will continue to grow. We have made great strides in our city. We have been able to attract serious investors who have spent over $230 million dollars on redevelopment. Our local businesses have seen their commerce grow and we have sent a message that Plainfield is open and ready to do business.
We will continue to source all opportunities which will support the growth of businesses within our city, and we will find alternate ways to bolster our local economy as we move forward.
What we will not stop doing is growing, improving and working, as Plainfield continues its incredible renaissance.
A Day Without Immigrants
On Thursday February 16th, 2017 Immigrants all across America stayed home from work to demonstrate what a day without our immigrants would feel like.
Mayor Adrian O. Mapp issued the following statement in response to the peaceful rally held on the steps of Plainfield's City Hall:
Mayor Adrian Mapp and the City of Plainfield stands in solidarity with the immigrant community here and all across by the nation who took a stand on February 16th for the “Day Without Immigrants”.
The United States of America was built by immigrants and we have always stood for inclusion, safety and justice for all. The harsh stance taken by the Trump Administration goes against the tenets of America and we will not join with any targeted action against our immigrant community.
We are a progressive City and the legislation we recently passed making Plainfield a Fair and Welcoming City to Immigrants reflects the views and stance of this administration.
We recognize the outstanding contributions that immigrants make to our local and national economy, impacting every single industry and touching every household.
We will continue to stand strong in solidarity today and every day as long as there is a threat to the civil liberties of our immigrant population.