The Economic Opportunity Act II has hit a roadblock, but the bill's main sponsor, state Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Union), says it's only temporary.
Seen as the follow-up bill to the Economic Opportunity Act, the state's business incentives overhaul signed into law in September, the new legislation was released from the Senate Economic Growth Committee last month and advanced to the Senate Budget Committee.
But Lesniak says the bill hit a wall in committee due to a lack of support from the Christie administration for one of its major components, the Garden State Film and Digital Media Jobs Act, which expands the state's tax credits for film and digital media productions.
The rest of the bill, Lesniak says, features elements he believes already have "universal support." Those elements include, among other things, a $200 million tax credit for the redevelopment and rehabilitation of low- and moderate-income housing and a relaxation of the requirement that a developer set aside 20 percent of new units for affordable housing purposes.
Rather than risk a Christie veto on the entire bill due to opposition on the film incentives portion, Lesniak chose to "break it into two parts." One part will deal with the film tax credits and the other will tackle affordable housing and other development incentives.
Lesniak says both will be introduced in the early part of the next legislative session. In the meantime, he will work to "gather support for" the film incentives and continue to polish the second bill.