Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-Gloucester) on Thursday announced that the Democratic-controlled Senate will spend the next several months seeking to implement a series of economic measures designed to help jumpstart the state’s stagnant economy.
The planned action of job creation and the economic proposals would come during the legislative election campaign season.
Sweeney noted that New Jersey’s unemployment rate is 9.5 percent and above the national average.
“New Jersey is failing to make any gains in our fight against the sluggish economy,” Sweeney said. “The people of this state need employment opportunities and our small businesses need investment. The time to act is now. These bills represent a great opportunity to put people back to work and get our economy moving again. By implementing these measures, we can begin to turn back the tide of our slumping economy and make New Jersey a powerhouse and example to the rest of the country.”
The Republican Christie administration has made economic recovery a prime goal.
Sweeney said the Democratic package will include existing legislation, previously discussed ideas and newly developed concepts that incorporate “outside-the-box thinking.” The currently existing bills include:
S-3033, which calls for the establishment of the Grow New Jersey Assistance Program to provide tax credits to certain businesses;
S-2005, which provides sales and use tax exemptions for wind energy equipment;
S-1949, which provides an energy tax exemption for manufacturers;
S-1885, which allows corporation business tax and gross income deductions for the amount of net interest received on loans to certain qualified UEZ businesses;
S-1015, which allows corporation business tax and gross income tax credits to businesses providing employment to certain National Guard members or reservists.
Among the previously discussed concepts are:
Permit small, women or minority owned businesses located in designated regional centers to qualify for Economic Development Authority (EDA) loans;
Provide credits against certain taxes for investing in New Jersey emerging technology businesses;
Direct EDA and Commission on Higher Education to promote the establishment of higher education and business partnerships.
Some of the new concepts include:
Establishment of a Small Business Loan Program, where businesses of 10 to 99 employees would be eligible for two percent interest rate loans of up to $250,000 to expand their enterprise, if the business commits to increasing its overall employment by at least 10 percent;
Establish a Hospital Facility Grant Program to encourage investment in vacant hospital buildings;