Gov. Phil Murphy’s decision to reactivate Urban Enterprise Zones for five years in five communities across the state was met with applause from municipal and association leaders.
Murphy signed legislation Wednesday to reinstate UEZs in Bridgeton, Camden, Newark, Plainfield and Trenton until Dec. 31, 2023.
Those UEZs had expired during the Christie administration and were not renewed.
Michele Siekerka, the CEO and president of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association, said the programs are vital in the attempt to re-energize the economic climate in some of the state’s urban areas.
“NJBIA has supported this legislation because it encourages businesses to either start up or continue in urban areas, where private sector job creation is so critical,” she said in a statement.
“The UEZ program has helped the downtown areas of some of our most economically challenged cities and many of our small businesses continue to utilize and rely on the program.”
Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin (D-Newark), who was one of the sponsors of the bill, said it will help Newark and other urban areas.
“The UEZ rewards businesses that continue to invest in urban communities, like Newark, while providing a break on sales tax for shoppers who support those businesses,” Pintor Marin said in a statement. “It’s a win-win, common-sense, fiscally sound program that has helped revive struggling urban areas throughout the state.”
The legislation requires the Department of Community Affairs to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the program.
“The results of that study will hopefully lead to more efficiencies or improvements in the program,” Sierkerka said.
The UEZ Program began in 1983. New Jersey currently has 27 UEZs in 32 communities.