TRENTON – Assemblywoman Annette Quijano, (D-20), Union on Monday called on other lawmakers to oppose the Governor’s proposed dismantling of the Urban Enterprise Zone program in the FY 2012 budget.
The UEZ program, which has existed since 1983, has been successful in Elizabeth, one of the first municipalities to participate in the program, according to Quijano.
However, a 2010 report commissioned by Christie recommended the elimination of the program, and a letter outlining the dismantling of the program was sent out to each of the 38 participating municipalities on April 7.
“While the UEZ program has seen mixed results in some districts, it is wildly successful in Elizabeth,” Quijano said in a release. “Furthermore, the rate of minority business ownership in UEZ municipalities is 23 percent, whereas it is only nine percent statewide. In Elizabeth, more than 33 percent of all businesses are Hispanic-owned. Eliminating the incentives and benefits that these zones provide will have a disproportionately negative effect on minority business owners, especially here in Union County.”
In February, the Christie administration issued a report critical of the UEZ program, stating that in many cases municipallities were not spending all of the revenue collected.