Senate sets Economic Opportunity Act CV vote

TRENTON – The spotlight regarding the Economic Opportunity Act shifts to the Senate after the Assembly on Monday went along with the governor’s conditional veto.

The Senate has posted the bill for a concurrence vote on Thursday.

One of its upper chamber backers, Sen. Donald Norcross, lauded the bill that reorganizes five tax-incentive programs to two.

Norcross, (D-5), Camden, who represents parts of Southern New Jersey, praised the legislation because, in part, he said it will open up job-creation opportunities in that region as well as make the programs more accessible to smaller businesses.

“By developing a more dynamic incentives program, we’re opening the door to sustainable jobs for our area,” Norcross said in a release.

“Provisions in this bill will enable businesses to take advantage of the expansion of Eds and Meds in South Jersey, as well as regional improvements to transportation and our infrastructure. From the Camden Waterfront to Rowan and Rutgers-Camden’s campuses and beyond, we are poised for long-term growth.”

However, another upper chamber colleague is disappointed.

Sen. Ray Lesniak, (D-20), Union, reiterated his criticisms that the much-reworked bill shortchanges affordable housing concerns.

“The governor, with his actions, is turning his back on affordable housing in urban areas,’’ Lesniak said today.

He said he will seek to introduce legislation to address his concerns.

Prime sponsor Assemblyman Albert Coutinho, who is not seeking re-election for health reasons, said he recognizes that the bill can’t please everyone but said that the pluses far outweigh the minuses.

In a prepared statement, he said:

“This is a long-awaited big step in the right direction toward creating more jobs throughout our state and boosting our economy.

“Job creation and economic growth are shared priorities for all New Jerseyans, so this progress is good news for everyone. I look forward to this version getting final legislative approval and finally becoming law. This is after all the most comprehensive overall of the state’s economic incentive programs.”

Senate sets Economic Opportunity Act CV vote