When it comes to economic development, how big is “mega?”
That's the question some insiders are pondering as the Economic Opportunity Act of 2013 weaves its way through the Legislature. In this week's Grapevine, sources tell us there's been back-and-forth lately about the criteria for "mega projects." The "mega project" designation was conceived as a way to let the most economically impactful projects receive a higher level of incentives from the state. Now some are pushing for changes to the bill's current "mega project" parameters in order to help attract industries like the biofuel sector.
Also in Grapevine, a large chunk of the federal Hurricane Sandy aid package has been set aside to help storm-ravaged businesses and bring back the shore's hard-hit tourism sector, but one important part of the shore economy won't be included in the $25 million ad campaign the state is buying with federal money. Why? Federal red tape.
This week's paper also includes more detail on one facet of Sandy aid – the $260 million grant program approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development last week and launched by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority the next day.
Also, Beth Fitzgerald has the latest on the implementation of the federal healthcare reform legislation. A New Jersey healthcare player is preparing to roll out its healthcare exchange this summer.