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Governor Murphy Announces Economic Development Strategic Plan for New Jersey
By Kevin D. Sheehan, Jeffrey D. Winitsky on October 1, 2018

Today Governor Murphy announced a new Economic Development Strategic Plan (Strategic Plan) for the State of New Jersey.  The Governor anticipates that the Strategic Plan will make New Jersey a stronger and fairer place to work where innovation and diversity are at the forefront of the State’s economy.  The Governor seeks to stimulate New Jersey’s economic growth, while also assisting residents and workers.  Governor Murphy outlined an environment where small businesses and entrepreneurs can thrive and all residents can build economic security and well-being.

The goal the Strategic Plan is to drive faster job growth, achieve faster median wage growth, create a more diverse innovation ecosystem, double venture capital investing within the State, close the race and gender wage gaps, and encourage thriving urban centers and downtowns, while reducing poverty.  The focus of this Strategic Plan will be an investment in people and communities, while making New Jersey a State of Innovation, and improving New Jersey’s competitiveness and business climate.

The investment in people is called NJ Talent.  It will include raising the minimum wage to $15.00 an hour, expanding the earned income tax credit, and enacting a child and dependent care tax credit.  The State will also expand access to free community college, implement STEM loan forgiveness, and commit resources to New Jersey’s Apprenticeship and Career Networks.  The State will look at portable benefits and life-long learning accounts to help residents strive in a global economy.

Investing in communities will focus on mixed-use, transit-oriented, innovation-centric development in distressed neighborhoods and downtowns throughout the State.  The Governor is proposing a targeted place-based gap-financing program (NJ Aspire) along with a proposal to revitalize brownfields programs and introduce a new State Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program.  The State will also assist investors and companies that want to take advantage of the Opportunity Zone legislation included within the Federal 2017 tax reform legislation.  The Governor promised to address New Jersey’s transportation infrastructure including NJ Transit, the Gateway Program, and Newark International Airport.

Making New Jersey a State of Innovation will include investments in people, ecosystems and physical spaces, as well as private and public research, and venture capital financing.  The Governor seeks to create the New Jersey Innovation Evergreen Fund, which will partner with the private sector to raise and co-invest funds in New Jersey-based startups.  The State will also use incentives to help make New Jersey a State of Innovation.  The Governor is proposing an efficient, capped, job creation tax credit program (NJ Forward Tax Credit) which will focus on expanding high growth, high wage sectors.

Finally, the Governor seeks to improve New Jersey’s competitiveness and business climate by removing barriers which make it more difficult for companies to grow and create jobs in New Jersey.  This program will be known as NJ Accelerate.  Through this program, the State will launch new small business lending programs and create a dedicated small business unit within the New Jersey Economic Development Authority to support the business community.  It will provide resources to small businesses including minority, LGBTQ, women and veteran-owned businesses to provide more flexible capital.  The Governor also hopes to modernize the State’s regulatory environment to support innovation by removing regulatory bottlenecks.

In order to implement the Strategic Plan, the Governor will have to work with the Legislature to enact legislation, and the various agencies, including NJEDA, will need to adopt regulations.  We will continue to review all statutes and regulations in order to assist our clients who are seeking to grow within New Jersey.

For further information please contact Kevin D. Sheehan or Jeffrey D. Winitsky.

 The content of this post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion. You should consult a lawyer concerning your specific situation and any specific legal question you may have.

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