TRENTON – Gov. Chris Christie today conditionally vetoed the Economic Opportunity Act, a sweeping makeover of tax incentive programs.
Among other things, Christie removed from the voluminous bill a prevailing wage measure for custodians and maintenance workers and language regarding re-use of abandoned hospital sites.
At a Senate vote last month, Sen. Ray Lesniak urged colleagues to oppose the latest version of the heavily reworked legislation because portions that would have benefited affordable housing development were taken out.
However, Assembly sponsor Albert Coutinho had cautioned at that time that any further tweaking of the bill would make it difficult to get through the lower chamber successfully.
This morning, Coutinho said that “We need to remember that this is the largest, most comprehensive overhaul of state tax incentives in the state’s history.
“There always will be some who wish it could have been something more.
“On the whole I am extremely relieved that we’re finally at this point. This is a sea change and it is going to help to move our economy.”
Earlier in the summer, environmentalists decried clauses in the bill that they warned would open up Highlands areas to development.
The Act’s primary purpose is to winnow five tax incentive programs to two: The Grow New Jersey Assistance Program becomes the primary business attraction and retention program; and the Economic Redevelopment and Growth Grant becomes the primary redevelopment initiative.
The bill phases out the Business Retention and Relocation Assistance Grant Program, the Business Employment Incentive Program, and the Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit Program.
The Assembly has scheduled a voting session for Monday to consider several bills, including the EOA.