Any employer that relocates its call center operations from New Jersey to a foreign country would no longer be eligible for financial help from the state, under a bill approved by an Assembly panel Monday.

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Testimony at the State House presented two main goals of the measure - keeping jobs in New Jersey and making sure taxpayer funds aren't handed out to companies that move their operations elsewhere.

The Save NJ Call Center Jobs Act would require any employer to notify the state at least 90 days before relocating its call center operations overseas, or transferring at least 30 percent.

The company would have to turn over any unused grant, loan, tax benefit or other financial support from the state. In addition, the company would be barred from any direct assistance from New Jersey in the future.

"I feel that this bill is common sense in this time of very stubborn, high unemployment in New Jersey," said Assembly Democrat Connie Wagner, a sponsor of the measure.

She noted companies have the right to invest elsewhere, but they shouldn't benefit from New Jersey taxpayers and the state in the process.

"We need to keep jobs here in New Jersey," added Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo (D). "Companies that ship jobs overseas hurt our economy and hurt our residents."

The measure also received support from Bob Master with the regional division of the Communications Workers of America, who said call centers have become one of the nation's largest industries.

"There is no reason why call center jobs cannot be good, family-supporting jobs," Master said.

Under the bill, any employer that fails to notify the state of its intentions would be subject to a $7,500 penalty for each day the violation continues.