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Assembly Passes Economic Opportunity Act

By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
Trenton. September 9, 2013

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After Governor Christie made some changes with a conditional veto, the New Jersey Assembly has passed a revised bill to provide incentives for job growth.

Assemblyman Al Coutinho is the primary sponsor of The Economic Opportunity Act.  He says it consolidates the state’s tax incentive programs and will allow local businesses to expand and create jobs.

 “By reducing the thresholds of investment, by expanding eligibility areas, we’re  going to allow small and medium size businesses to take advantage of these incentives. So it won’t only be Prudential or Panasonic or The Daily News or Goya that can take advantage of it.”

New Jersey Sierra Club director Jeff Tittle is concerned that the measure will end up creating new development in the state’s last remaining open spaces.

 “We’re now subsidizing developers and giving them sprawl-fare to build in places like the Pinelands, on environmentally sensitive farmland, and in the Highlands.”

Coutinho disagrees. He says no preserved land is at risk because of the legislation.

“There is not one piece of land that could not have been built on before this bill that will be able to be built on after it.”

The state Senate also has to vote on the measure before it becomes law.

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