distressed municipalities

Incentive Alert: Governor Murphy Proposes New Incentive Programs

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On Monday, Governor Murphy outlined his plan for revamping New Jersey’s main incentive programs, including the Grow New Jersey Assistance Program (Grow NJ) and the Economic Redevelopment and Growth (ERG) Program, which are set to expire in July of 2019. While the creation of any new program will require new legislation, this is the first step in a process that will likely result in new incentive programs for businesses and developers.

The NJ Forward Tax Credit Program (NJ Forward) will likely take the place of Grow NJ as the State’s main job attraction incentive program. As proposed, NJ Forward will focus primarily on high-wage, high-growth sectors, including life sciences, information and high tech, clean energy, advanced manufacturing, advanced transportation and logistics, finance and insurance, and food and beverage. While the report does not outline specific programmatic details, it states that the proposed program will:

  • Increase focus on global/U.S. headquarters, R&D activities, and foreign direct investments

  • Prioritize new job creation rather than retained jobs

  • Encourage job creation in urban centers and other distressed communities, particularly those with public transit assets

  • Include an annual award cap and review to ensure fiscal sustainability and transparency

  • Feature lower base per-job credit amounts more in line with neighboring states, as well as more focused bonuses that ensure the administration’s policy goals

  • Limit transfers of credits to ensure that job-creating companies reap the primary benefits of taxpayer investment

  • Reward companies that invest in employee skill development and training

The NJ Aspire Tax Credit Program (NJ Aspire) will likely take the place of ERG as the State’s main incentive for developers. The administration is proposing the creation of a new place-based gap financing tool to help catalyze investments in commercial, residential, and mixed-use (including parking) projects, with a particular focus on cities, downtowns, and suburban neighborhoods served by mass transit. As proposed, the program will facilitate the conversion of surface parking lots, vacant and/or abandoned lots, and other underutilized properties into job and tax-generating development opportunities. The program will also assist in the development of market-rate housing in distressed communities and, where appropriate, mixed-income and affordable housing near transit in suburban communities. NJ Aspire will be structured as a competitive tax credit grant, giving the NJEDA discretion in awarding grants to the most impactful and development-ready project.

In addition to NJ Forward and NJ Aspire, the report also calls for the creation of a new remediation and development tax credit program and a dedicated NJEDA loan fund to support brownfield redevelopment, the creation of a state historic preservation tax credit program, and multiple programs aimed at encouraging venture capital investment in high-growth, high-wage sectors.

If interested in learning more about these or other economic development incentive programs, please do not hesitate to contact Chris Murphy at Murphy Partners LLP at (973) 723-7036 or cmurphy@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: Federal Tax Law Creates Incentives for Investment in “Opportunity Zones”

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While corporate and individual tax relief took center stage in the debate over the passage of the new federal tax reform legislation, a less-discussed section of the new law may have a significant impact in driving investment into distressed areas throughout the country.

The new law establishes the Opportunity Zone Program, which creates preferential tax treatment for unrealized capital gains that are reinvested in to-be-determine qualified opportunity zones. The new law instructs governors in each state (and the Mayor of Washington, D.C.) to identify eligible census tracts from a pool of low-income, high-poverty census tracts (each state is limited to selecting up to 25% of the state’s census tracts that meet the eligibility requirements).

Importantly, the new law will allow corporations and partnerships to establish Opportunity Funds, created for the purpose of investing in qualified opportunity zone property (which includes any opportunity zone business stock, any opportunity zone partnership interest, and any opportunity zone business property).

As recently outlined by the Economic Innovation Group (www.eig.org), investments made in a qualified Opportunity Fund will receive preferential tax treatment, including:

  1. A temporary deferral of inclusion in taxable income for capital gains reinvested in an Opportunity Fund. The deferred gain must be recognized on the earlier of the date on which the opportunity zone investment is disposed of or December 31, 2026.

  2. A step-up in basis for capital gains reinvested in an Opportunity Fund. The basis is increased by 10% if the investment in the Opportunity Fund is held by the taxpayer for at least 5 years and by an additional 5% if held for at least 7 years, thereby excluding up to 15% of the original gain from taxation.

  3. A permanent exclusion from taxable income of capital gains from the sale or exchange of an investment in an Opportunity Fund if the investment is held for at least 10 years. This exclusion only applies to gains accrued after an investment in an Opportunity Fund.

To take advantage of the special tax treatment created under this program, taxpayers must roll over non-opportunity zone gains before Dec. 31, 2026.

If interested in learning more about this or other economic development incentive programs, 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 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.