Camden

Incentive Alert: Rutgers University Report Recommends Changes to New Jersey’s Business Incentive Programs

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On Wednesday, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) submitted a report to Governor Phil Murphy, conducted by Rutgers University’s Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, which (among other things) recommended changes to the State’s business incentive programs, including the Grow New Jersey Assistance Program (Grow NJ) and the Economic Redevelopment and Growth Grant Program (ERG).

The report (which can be found here) found the following:   

  • There has been a significant volume of project approvals under Grow NJ, which are associated with significant volumes of retained and created jobs, but which will also generate a substantial offset to the Corporate Business Tax and Insurance Premium Tax in the years ahead;

  • Commercial ERG projects leverage a considerable amount of private investment.

  • Given the long lead time associated with Grow NJ and ERG projects, it is too soon to fully evaluate the impact of these programs on the State’s economy;

  • Projects approved under Grow NJ are generally concentrated in the northern, more populous counties of the State. A significant percentage of project funding in the eight southern counties has been concentrated in Camden;

  • Redundancies in the Grow NJ base and bonus award structure are potentially providing more generous incentives than intended by the statute;

  • Because certain bonuses have been underutilized, it is not clear that the program has advanced certain policy goals intended by the legislation such as clean energy investment and the creation of incubators;

  • There is an opportunity to improve EDA’s analysis of proposed incentive projects.

The report suggested the following to improve the programs:

  • A deeper analysis of the types and quality of jobs created or retained, and whether some or all of the related economic activity would have happened with lower or no incentives.

  • A review of the overall impact of the reduction in Corporate Business Tax revenues (which would be made up for by higher Gross Income Tax from created or retained jobs), given the constitutional requirement that the Gross Income Tax fund property tax relief while the Corporate Business Tax and Insurance Premium Tax are the primary resources for the General Fund.

  • Given the Grow NJ program’s goals of job creation and retention, the report recommends that the alternative approach used in calculating certain awards in the city of Camden (the “Camden alternatives”) be revised to tie awards more closely to the employment created by these firms.

  • NJEDA should consider eliminating or revising the bonus for Transit Oriented Development in Urban Transit Hubs and Garden State Growth Zones. This bonus may be redundant in most cases in these jurisdictions, where it accounts for about 21 percent, or about $250 million of the total award value for projects qualifying for the bonus.

The programs are currently set to expire in July 2019. With the sunset of the programs only a year away, legislators will soon start to discuss potential changes to the programs. While change may be on the horizon, one thing is clear--incentives will continue to be part of New Jersey’s economic development toolkit.

If interested in learning more about state and local incentives, please do not hesitate to contact Murphy Partners LLP at (973) 877-6984 or info@murphyllp.com.  

MURPHY PARTNERS LLP

Murphy Partners LLP is a boutique law firm specializing in real estate, development, and economic incentive advisory. With offices in Newark, New Jersey and New York City, 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.

Incentive Alert: Amendments to the Grow NJ Program Advance

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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 info@murphyllp.com.  

MURPHY PARTNERS LLP

Murphy Partners LLP is a boutique law firm specializing in commercial real estate and economic incentive advisory. Headquartered in Newark, New Jersey, 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.

New Jersey Incentive Update - May 2017

On Thursday, May 11, 2017, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) held its monthly board meeting in Trenton. Among the actions taken, the Board considered applications under the Grow New Jersey Assistance Program (Grow NJ). The Board also considered the issuance of bonds, loans, and guarantees for multiple applicants.

Grow New Jersey Assistance Program

The Board approved five applications under the Grow NJ Program, totaling over $74,000,000 in tax credits. Once certified, the five projects will bring jobs and capital investment to Camden, Lakewood, Hanover Township, and Woodcliff Lake.

Created under the Economic Opportunity Act of 2013, Grow NJ is the State’s main job creation and business retention incentive program. The purpose of the program is to “encourage economic development and job creation and to preserve jobs that currently exist in New Jersey but which are in danger of being relocated outside of the State.” N.J.S.A. 34:1B-244(a).

Determination of the size of an award is based on the project’s location, the corresponding capital investment, and the jobs created or retained at a qualified business location. Applicants must demonstrate that the project will yield a net positive benefit to the State and must indicate that the award of tax credits under the program is a material factor in the business decision to make a capital investment and locate in the State. N.J.S.A. 34:1B-244(b)(3).

The Grow NJ Program has been wildly popular and incredibly successful. Since its implementation, 233 projects have received awards, totaling over $4.4 billion in tax credits. Once certified, the 233 projects will drive over $3.9 billion in private capital investment, create over 29,000 new jobs, and retain over 28,000 jobs at risk of leaving the State.

Murphy Partners LLP

If interesting in learning more about this and other programs available through the State of New Jersey, please do not hesitate to reach out to us by telephone at (973) 877-6984 or by email at info@murphyllp.com. In the meantime, please take some time to explore the website. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Murphy Partners LLP is a boutique law firm specializing in governmental affairs, economic incentive advisory, and land use and redevelopment law. Headquartered in Newark, New Jersey, the firm was founded to provide effective, efficient, and creative legal and government affairs services to meet the distinctive needs of our clients. Through the development of comprehensive legal and government affairs strategies, our team works tirelessly to create a blueprint for success and advance our clients’ interests in every matter.