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Resolution creating economic 'task force' for some South Jersey counties advances

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The Senate Economic Growth Committee unanimously voted to approve a resolution Monday that would establish an economic development task force in some South Jersey counties.

If created, the “First District Economic Development Task Force” would focus on creating jobs and driving economic activity through policies, regulations, incentives and other tools for the First Legislative District counties of Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland.

State Sen. Jeff Van Drew (D-Cape May Court House), the resolution’s sponsor, said the targeted region is in need of the measure as it features high unemployment and poverty rates as well as a low per capita income rate.

“The economic recession produced a devastating blow to an already fragile economy in this region of the state,” Van Drew said. “We have to find ways to improve economic conditions and we have to do that together. This task force will find ways to incentivize economic development and create jobs and opportunities for our residents. We will leave no stone unturned in this process.”

The proposed task force would feature 11 members comprised of county and state officials, community college presidents, development leaders and an official from the Economic Development Authority. At minimum, Cape May and Cumberland counties would each host two task force meetings each in the 18 months before a report of findings and recommendations is sent back to the Legislature.

“Our residents are trying desperately to find work so they can earn a decent living and take care of their families,” Van Drew said. “Unfortunately, the economy is faltering and too many people are without jobs and are struggling financially. We owe it to them to come together to find real, tangible ways to create good-paying jobs and economic development in the region.”

The resolution will now head to the full Senate for consideration.


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