Corzine pointed out that his administration has reducedcorporate taxes to the tune of $368 million, citing the traffic "onthe bridges across the Delaware River to Pennsylvania" at quittingtime as the impetus, simultaneously reflecting on the state's need"to be competitive." At the same time, he emphasized that hisadministration wants to continue in the "smart growth" vein,prioritizing redevelopment as the focus for ongoing economicgrowth.

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"I have to say we have a lot of work to do" in terms of puttingthe state's financial house in order, Corzine told attendees. "Alot of good things are going on and a lot is on the drawingboard."

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Redevelopment, the state's financial health and a range of otherissues was addressed by a symposium panel made up of public andprivate sector officials. "Simply put, a lot of the state isoff-limits to development, and redevelopment is the key," attorneyTed Zangari of the Newark-based law firm Sills Cummis and panelmoderator, told attendees. The realities of economic growth involveurban cores, train stations and brownfields, coupled with thechallenges of high costs, taxes, soft markets. The latter factorscould force "a tipping point of redevelopment," Zangari toldattendees.

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Government's role in the process was an issue on the table, withJoseph Taylor, president and CEO of Matrix Development Group,explaining that from a development standpoint, "at the end of theday, the process has to be predictable. That's an area thisindustry has to focus on."

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John McKeon, mayor of West Orange, and also a member of thestate assembly, said his administration had "learned a lot fromdevelopers," adding that the redevelopment process should involve"give and take between developers and the community." Susan BassLevin, the state's commissioner of community affairs, added, "it'sa question of balance, of building a local consensus as early on inthe process as possible. It's important for a mayor and a communityto set out what they want, and be realistic."

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Dianne Brake, president of the Regional Planning Partnership,said "It's important to have a stronger planning process, early inthe process, so [local officials] can work with a consensus."

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And because eminent domain and condemnation often come into playin redevelopment, that was a topic on the table as well. "There aresome great examples in New Jersey of redevelopment projects thatwouldn't have happened without eminent domain," Bass Levin said.She conceded that "there have been some abuses," but added, "withour land restrictions, we can't do much without some form ofcondemnation. But we have to look at how we compensate fairly."

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All things considered, "we need to grow," Taylor concluded. "Butthe political situation, and the capital situation related to thestate budget, are working diametrically against that. We have 'hereand now' issues that have to be addressed."

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