Coutinho bill seeks to streamline tax incentive programs

TRENTON – A state lawmaker introduced a bill to streamline and improve job-creation in post-Sandy New Jersey.

Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Chairman Albert Coutinho, D-29, Newark, on Tuesday announced he’s introduced A3680, which among other things would merge five state tax-incentive programs into two, with one focused on job creation and the other on economic development.

The New Jersey Economic Opportunity Act of 2013 would expand two economic development incentive programs administered by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. The Grow New Jersey Assistance Program would be the state’s main business attraction and retention program, according to Coutinho.

“Our tax incentive programs have been invaluable to our state’s economic development planning, but – with five programs with varying goals – we clearly need to streamline these programs and make it easier for businesses to understand and take advantage of them,” said Coutinho in a release. “We want businesses to bring new jobs to New Jersey and preserve the ones they already provide.”

The Economic Redevelopment and Growth Grant program would be the state’s sole redeveloper incentive, he said.

The bill would phase out provisions of the Business Retention and Relocation Assistance Grant Program, the Business Employment Incentive Program and the Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit Program.

“Let’s make it easier to create jobs and economic growth while accomplishing some of our major policy goals,” Coutinho said.

"I don't think what he's doing tonight, the method by which he's doing it helps to build a trustful relationship."
—Gov. Chris Christie reacting to President Barack Obama's speech on immigration reform.