A measure to boost New Jersey's job creation efforts by revamping and streamlining the state's economic development tax incentives is cruising through the legislature and it's getting rare bi-partisan support.

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Last week, the bill was approved by a State Senate committee and yesterday is was cleared by the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development panel.

The legislation would merge five state tax-incentive programs into two, with one focused on job creation and the other on economic development.

The New Jersey Economic Opportunity Act of 2013 expands two economic development incentive programs administered by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. The Grow New Jersey Assistance Program would be the state's premier business attraction and retention incentive.

"Our tax incentive programs have been invaluable to our state's economic development planning, but - with five programs with varying goals - we clearly need to streamline these programs and make it easier for businesses to understand and take advantage of them," Assemblyman Al Coutinho, one of the bill's sponsors, said.

"We want businesses to bring new jobs to New Jersey and preserve the ones they already provide."

The Economic Redevelopment and Growth Grant program would be the state's sole redeveloper incentive under the legislation.

"It would be built to better match or surpass the financial incentive packages being offered by neighboring and other competing states, while also providing bonuses to drive development to smart growth areas in the state," Assemblyman Troy Singleton. "This is vital for job creation in a state where we've seen an unemployment rate hovering near 10 percent. We need to do better."

The bill phases out the provisions of the Business Retention and Relocation Assistance Grant Program, the Business Employment Incentive Program and the Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit Program.

Coutinho says he's had in-depth discussions with developers, business organizations, labor unions and planning groups as he finalized the bill.

Chamber Of Commerce Weighs In

Mike Egenton, Senior Vice President with the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, says his organization believes this approach will streamline the application process for businesses desiring to relocate to New Jersey and prosper within our borders.

"With this new program of streamlined incentives, companies of all sizes and needs will be in a position to find the right fit within our state," Egenton explained. "In particular, incentives will be available for companies embracing New Jersey's urban areas. This new innovative approach will give New Jersey a competitive advantage in both the national and global economy for years to come."