N.J. Food Council backs legislation to aid supermarket industry

TRENTON – The New Jersey Food Council – an alliance of retailers and suppliers – released a legislative agenda today designed to encourage growth in the New Jersey supermarket industry.

The “NJ Supermarket Incentive Package” promotes changes in tax policy, pricing, and energy costs, as well as other regulatory reforms.

 “What we are proposing today aims to grow the state’s food retail and distribution industry,  which accounts for 9 percent of gross state product and 17 percent of all New Jersey jobs,” NJFC President Linda Doherty said in a release.

“The food desert issue” (areas lacking easy access to a supermarket) “is a main reason as to why these proposed incentives and reforms are needed,” Doherty said. “New Jersey is such a high cost state and with food retailers working on such low margins, retailers are choosing elsewhere to set up shop. By enacting these reforms, we can bring supermarkets into areas of New Jersey that would otherwise be underserved.”

The Council listed numerous bills either already proposed or awaiting introduction:

* Assembly Bill 3816 (Coutinho/DeAngelo) – Increases the amount of incremental revenues that can be applied to Economic Redevelopment and Growth Grants from 75 percent to 100 percent in the case of sales taxes paid within a project that includes a supermarket or grocery store located in a city that lacks adequate access to affordable and nutritious food.

* Assembly Bill 3196 (DeAngelo/Benson)/Senate Bill 2481 (Greenstein) – Allows corporation business tax credits as incentives for redevelopment of distressed shopping centers

* (Pending Introduction) – Creates a study commission to examine the reduction of TDI payroll tax rates for employers

* Estate Tax Reform – numerous legislative proposals

Reducing Supermarket Energy Costs

* Senate Bill 2344 (Smith/Beck)/Assembly Bill 2528 (Chivukula/Quijano) – Reforms the allocation of Societal Benefit Charges and establishes a credit against the SBC.

Unit Pricing Reforms

*(Pending Introduction) – Expands unit pricing requirements and updates compliance policies

Organized Retail Theft

* (Pending Introduction) – The Organized Retail Theft Task Force in the Attorney General’s Office is set to release their recommendations to the Christie Administration in the coming months. Highlights include the creation of a dedicated ORT prosecutor and strengthening existing ORT and shoplifting laws.

Regulatory Reforms

* Assembly Bill 2129 (Chivukula/McHose/Burzichelli)/Senate Bill 1336 (Sarlo/Van Drew) – Expands scope of Regulatory Flexibility Act

*Senate Bill 1904 (Beach/Lesniak/Kyrillos)/Assembly Bill 2591 (Greenwald/Riley) – Increases number of liquor licenses supermarkets can hold from two to ten N.J. Food Council backs legislation to aid supermarket industry