December 2, 2017

Incentive Alert: Amendments to the Grow NJ Program Advance

On Tuesday, multiple bills to amend the Grow New Jersey Assistance Program (Grow NJ) received favorable committee votes in Trenton. The Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee voted 9-0 to amend provisions related to the classification of Garden State Growth Zones (GSGZ) under the program. The committee also approved a bill which would require the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) to establish an “innovation zone” program, and modify the Grow NJ program to provide bonuses and other enhanced incentives to high-technology businesses located in an innovation zone.

Under A-4510, the Grow NJ program would be amended to add a sixth GSGZ, which will include 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.

Currently, there are five GSGZs, including Atlantic City, Camden, Passaic, Paterson, and Trenton. Businesses relocating to or remaining in a GSGZ receive enhanced incentives, including a base tax credit of $5,000 per job, per year, for up to 10 years.

In addition to creating an additional GSGZ, the amendment also allows projects located in the six GSGZs to take advantage of provisions only available for projects located in Camden, including an alternative grant calculation to determine the total incentive amount available. This provision has driven many of the program’s largest projects (and awards) to Camden. As amended, all six GSGZs would be entitled to the same benefits.

The Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee also voted 7-0 to approve A-3747, which would require the NJEDA to establish an "innovation zone" program, which would consist of three innovation zones, each surrounding a research university or college or research hospital, and located in Greater Camden, Greater New Brunswick, and Greater Newark. The bill would require the NJEDA, with the approval of the State Treasurer, to modify its existing business assistance programs to give bonuses or other enhanced incentives to high-technology businesses located in an innovation zone.

Created under the Economic Opportunity Act of 2013, Grow NJ is the State’s main job creation and retention incentive program. Under the program, businesses creating or retaining jobs in the State may be eligible for tax credits ranging from $500 to $5,000 per job, per year; with bonus credits ranging from $250 to $3,000 per job, per year (awards vary based on applicable criteria).

The Grow NJ program has been wildly popular and incredibly successful. Since its implementation, 232 projects have received awards, totaling over $4.4 billion in tax credits. Approved applicants generally have three years to certify, or complete, a project. A project is deemed complete when the applicant has hired or retained the number of employees listed in its application, and satisfied the program’s capital investment requirements. Once certified, the 232 projects will drive over $3.9 billion in private capital investment, create over 28,000 new jobs, and retain over 30,000 jobs at risk of leaving the State.

If interested in learning more about Grow NJ or other economic development incentive programs, please do not hesitate to contact Murphy Partners LLP at (973) 723-7036 or

Murphy Schiller & Wilkes LLP is a boutique law firm specializing in commercial real estate and development matters. Headquartered in Newark, NJ, the firm was founded to provide effective, efficient, and creative legal services to meet the distinctive needs of our clients. Through the development of comprehensive legal strategies, our team works tirelessly to create a blueprint for success and advance our clients’ interests in every matter.