New Jersey's job creation efforts would get a boost from legislation that's been introduced by Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Chairman Albert Coutinho.  The measure would revamp and streamline the state's economic development tax incentives.

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

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

Known as the New Jersey Economic Opportunity Act of 2013, the legislation would expand two economic development incentive programs administered by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.

Grow New Jersey Assistance Program would be the state's main business attraction and retention incentive.

"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," said Coutinho.  "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 Economic Redevelopment and Growth Grant program would be the state's sole redeveloper incentive.

"This program would help more readily close project financing gaps and build public infrastructure critical to redevelopment projects, while also providing bonuses to achieve public policy objectives, such as bringing fresh produce to urban food deserts and rebuilding tourism destinations that were destroyed due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy," said Coutinho.  "Let's make it easier to create jobs and economic growth while accomplishing some of our major policy goals."

The provisions of the Business Retention Assistance Grant Program, the Business Employment Incentive Program and the Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit Program would be phased out.