Economic Opportunity Act II withdrawn, but will return, Lesniak says

TRENTON – An attempt to restore elements to the Economic Opportunity Act has been withdrawn, but will be back next year.

Sen. Ray Lesniak withdrew his Economic Opportunity Act II, and he said that he will split it into two bills that he will sponsor early next year.

The bill went through a hearing on Nov. 14 successfully, but Lesniak said Monday he will break the bill into two: one containing elements that he believes will have little opposition, and the other containing the elements that he said he will have to work to obtain support for.

Among other things, the first bill will contain provisions regarding using $200 million in tax credits for redevelopment of low-income or special needs housing, and authorizing an exception to the 20 percent affordable housing set-aside requirement for qualified residential projects.

The second bill will deal with, among other things, the proposed film tax credit. 

At the hearing on Nov. 14, Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop testified that that portion could be of huge benefit to his town, which could lure jobs from across the river.

Lesniak said, however, that it is his understanding that the administration continues to oppose the film tax credit.

The Treasury Department had no further comment Tuesday on the administration’s position, but in 2011 the  Economic Development Authority opposed continuation of the film tax credit, citing “questionable returns’’ for taxpayers and the tight budgetary climate, and then in 2012 the Treasurer maintained that opposition, calling such incentives a “race to the bottom’’ for states.

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Economic Opportunity Act II withdrawn, but will return, Lesniak says