NEWARK, NJ - Gov. Murphy Wednesday signed legislation reactivating Urban Enterprise Zones for five years in five communities across the state, including Newark.

The legislation, co-sponsored by Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin, a Democrat from Newark, allows qualifying businesses in the UEZ to charge and collect the state’s sales and use tax at one-half of the normal rate. 

"I want to applaud Gov. Murphy for signing this legislation extending the UEZ program and I am proud to have played a role in sponsoring and shaping the legislation," said Pintor Marin.

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"The UEZ rewards businesses that continue to invest in urban communities like Newark while providing a break on sales tax for shoppers who support those businesses," Pintor Marin said. "It's a win-win, common-sense, fiscally sound program that has helped revive struggling urban areas throughout the state."

The law reinstates UEZs in Bridgeton, Camden, Newark, Plainfield and Trenton until Dec. 31, 2023. The UEZs in those municipalities had expired during the Christie administration and were not renewed.

The law requires the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) to study the UEZ program and to submit to the Legislature a report and recommendations as to whether the program should continue as is, be amended, or expire. 

The measure also requires the state Department of Community Affairs to submit a report to the Legislature the report on the Urban Enterprise Zone program and the department's recommendations as to whether the program should be reconstituted, continued as it currently exists, or continued with specific recommended changes. 

The law directs the New Jersey Urban Enterprise Zone Authority to fund the cost of conducting the study and preparing the report from the account maintained in the name of the authority in the enterprise zone assistance fund.

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.

The bill also requires the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) to study the UEZ program and to submit to the Legislature a report and recommendations as to whether the program should continue as is, be amended, or expire. 

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

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.

New Jersey currently has a total of 27 UEZ's in 32 communities.