Lawmakers plan to have another go at a bill which Gov. Phil Murphy conditionally vetoed in August that called for the creation of a Garden State Growth Zone in the area surrounding the Atlantic City International Airport.
Both Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-3rd District, and Sen. Jeff Van Drew, D-1st District, said in a joint statement they plan to vote on Assembly Bill 3676 and Senate Bill 2307, which will include Murphy’s recommendations, at the Sept. 27 Senate session.
“[Sweeney] and I have decided to accept the governor’s changes,” Van Drew said Monday. “Although we believe that the version of the bill passed by the Legislature was better for the Atlantic County economy, we realize that a scaled-down incentive still provides a needed benefit that will help attract jobs to the area surrounding the airport.”
Under A3676, businesses that set up shop within one mile of the airport or the Federal Aviation Administration William J. Hughes Technical Center – which both make up an "aviation district" – would be eligible for tax incentives to help alleviate business costs.
The state already has five such zones in Atlantic City, Camden, Passaic, Paterson, and Trenton. Officials have argued that growing the region’s aviation technology industry is vital for South Jersey, which they said cannot sustain solely on gaming and tourism revenue.
Murphy, in his Aug. 27 veto statement, said he wanted the program to sunset on July 1, 2019, when the state’s other tax credit programs are also set to expire. Originally the program would have extended beyond the sunset date.
Garden State Growth Zones, which qualify businesses within those zones for tax incentives, are part of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s Grow NJ program, which set to expire on July 1.
The EDA’s Economic Redevelopment & Growth Program is also set to expire July 1. Since passed in 2013, the EDA has awarded billions of dollars in tax credits under Grow NJ.