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TRENTON-The State Assembly and Senate yesterday passed the New Jersey Economic Stimulus Act of 2009, a bill that included several measures supported by commercial real estate organizations in the state. The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Raymond J. Lesniak (D-Union), was approved by a vote of 49-27 in the Assembly and 21-18 in the Senate, according to a report in the Record.

Included in bill were several measures supported by commercial real estate groups in the state, including the Smart Growth Economic Development Coalition and NAIOP-NJ. Specifically, the bill would reduce the investment threshold under the Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit and allow for the transfer of those credits and create a substitute for Revenue Allocation District (RAD) program to be known as the Economic Redevelopment and Growth Grant (ERGG). Also included in the bill is an exemption for certain non-residential development from COAH fee obligations. Michael McGuinness, CEO of NAIOP-NJ says, “corrective legislation is needed now to encourage businesses to stay in and relocate to New Jersey in order to create private sector jobs.”

McGuinness tells GlobeSt.com, “This is a great first step to help create jobs and provide some temporary relief to the commercial real estate industry. We look forward to these various incentive programs and these relief measures taking effect immediately. Kudos to the legislature, especially Sen. Lezniak for his leadership in moving this bill forward.”

But while commercial real estate groups supported the legislation, critics contend that the bill would be a boon for developers. “In a time of economic crisis, with falling tax revenues forcing state and local governments to make deep cuts to public services and furlough employees, New Jersey and its municipalities can ill-afford to funnel needed tax revenue to private developers,” says Sarah Stecker, a policy analyst with New Jersey Policy Perspective, a non-partisan group that researches state issues.

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