Despite a voice so hoarse he sounded like he was whispering, Gov. Phil Murphy chatted up his long-stalled economic plan in a meeting with mayors, council members and county officials at the League of Municipalities conference in Atlantic City Thursday.

It’s now been nearly 14 months since Murphy outlined his economic development plan, which has gone nowhere in the Legislature, where leaders prefer uncapped incentives to the targeted, capped ones that make up Murphy’s proposal. He said they’re talking about a resolution.

“We think we’re close. We’ve had very constructive conversations with the Legislature and their teams,” Murphy said. “But it’s time to get this over the goal line. There’s too much at stake.”

For all the talk of meetings and progress, the Murphy administration is still publicly pushing for the same plan that has been stuck in the Legislature for nearly 14 months, while lawmakers advocate for one that more closely resembles the version that expired at the end of June.

“It’s time to turn the page and have a new approach to economic development,” said Tim Sullivan, chief executive officers of the Economic Development Authority.

Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora said there are developers interested in building in the capital city and that a reinstated incentive system at the EDA can help close the deal.

“They’re doing an excellent job of putting together a package that the Legislature hopefully will accept or modify, but at the end of the day we’d like to see the package signed into law sooner than later,” Gusciora said.

Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh said it’s time for the state to act on incentives because there are communities waiting for investment and job growth.

“I believe that there’s enough flexibility for all communities, all urban centers, to prosper. And quite frankly that’s our state motto, Liberty and Prosperity,” Sayegh said.

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Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small said tax incentives are critical to his city’s comeback efforts.

“And with programs like this through the EDA, as I stated, we want to diversify our offerings outside of casino gaming and we want more and more and more movies and films to come to the city of Atlantic City,” Small said.

Murphy enacted a movie and TV tax credit, and an expansion of it is moving through the Legislature. His broader proposal for targeted tax incentives remains stalled, nearly 14 months after being unveiled.

New Jersey: Decoded cuts through the cruft and gets to what matters in New Jersey news and politics. Follow on Facebook and Twitter.

Michael Symons is State House bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5 and the editor of New Jersey: Decoded. Follow @NJDecoded on Twitter and Facebook. Contact him at

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