EDA chief: $882M in financial incentives in 2011

TRENTON – Economic Development Authority Commissioner Caren Franzini said 2011 was a successful year for business and economic growth in New Jersey.

“We’ve had a very busy year,” Franzini said during an appearance before the Assembly Commerce Committee today.

She said some $882 million in financial incentives were provided, in the form of small business loans and tax credits.

In 2011, some $3.4 billion in capital investments were made, more than double the 1.4 billion made in 2011.

The number of projected new jobs also went up from 5,200 jobs in 2010 to 13,000 projected new jobs in 2011. Also, the number of jobs preserved went up from 12,300 to 27,000 jobs in 2011.

“Are the incentives working?” Franzini asked. “I would say yes.”

She talked of a multipronged approach that has been taken: Tax changes made to help corporations and small businesses, the 2 percent tax cap, regulatory reform, and outreach.

“The business climate has changed in New Jersey,” she said.

Among the incentive programs is the $1.5 billion Urban Transit Hub tax credit program, which originally provided tax credits to commercial developers if they make a $50 million investment in one of nine cities in New Jersey.

She emphasized that the credits come after development has taken place.

“Not a dollar of tax credit is spent until all the investment is made,” she said. “We’re not giving any money ahead of time.”

The UTHTC was amended last summer to allow residential development credits.

However, the program has currently stopped accepting residential applications since it can’t accommodate them all.

While 15 approved projects will be given $491.6 million in UTHTCs, some $1.95 billion in revenues will be produced, she said. The projects will help create 2,300 new jobs and 8,700 temporary construction jobs, she said.

Another program she highlighted was the GROW New Jersey program, which provides companies a tax credit between $5,000 and $8,000 per job if a minimum $20 million investment is made by the applicant.

Assembly Commerce Committee members lauded Franzini’s work at the authority.

EDA chief: $882M in financial incentives in 2011