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Tax Law

State Net Capitol Journal – September 23, 2013; New Jersey Overhauls Corporate Tax Breaks

Budget & Taxes

NJ OVERHAULS CORPORATE TAX BREAKS: Looking to spur job growth in the Garden State, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) signed legislation last week to expand the state's corporate tax incentives. Under AB 3680, the New Jersey Economic Opportunity Act of 2013, the state will lift current limits on economic incentives to corporations and developers and broadly expand the geographic areas where companies can qualify for those breaks. The measure also merges five incentive programs into two: the Economic Redevelopment and Growth Grant, which will focus on creating jobs, and the Grow New Jersey Assistance Program, intended to keep jobs in the state. Christie lauded the revised bill during a press conference last Wednesday.

"This new group of incentives will lead to making us more competitive with other states across the country," Christie said. "Let's not kid ourselves. We're competing with other states every day for the economic pie."

The signing was the culmination of an occasionally arduous eight month path the measure took getting to the governor's desk. Christie conditionally vetoed that version over provisions that required maintenance workers at companies receiving incentives to be paid that area's prevailing wage and an expansion of credits for the redevelopment of now-closed non-acute hospitals. Lawmakers ultimately endorsed his changes on Sept. 12 by overwhelming margins in both legislative chambers. Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D) and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D), both of whom have sparred regularly with the governor, were on hand for the signing.

"Jobs aren't Republican or Democrat. They're jobs. And people in this state need jobs," Sweeney said. (STAR-LEDGER [NEWARK], BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK, NORTHJERSEY.COM)

BUDGETS IN BRIEF: The OREGON Bureau of Labor and Industries announced last week that the Beaver State's minimum wage will rise to $9.10 per hour next year, a 15-cent increase over the current rate. The wage has increased every year but one (2010) since voters tied it to the rate of inflation in 2002 (NORTHWEST PUBLIC RADIO [PULLMAN]). • Also in OREGON, Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) announced he will call lawmakers into special session on Sept. 30 to address more funding for schools and deeper cuts to the public employees retirement system (PORTLAND OREGONIAN). • DELAWARE Gov. Jack Markell (D) signed a pair of bills last week to create a financial aid fund for military veterans: HB 85, which will give assistance and grants to help veterans cover medical/dental costs, transportation, home repairs and educational programs, and HB 140, which allows the fund to receive contributions from personal income tax filings (DELAWAREONLINE.COM). • A recently-released report from the NEW YORK-based Rockefeller Institute of Government shows that personal income tax collections for all U.S. states rose 20.3 percent in the second quarter of 2013 from the same period last year. The hike was largely due to federal tax code changes and a large revenue swell in CALIFORNIA, which received its first revenue from a 2012 voter-approved ballot measure increasing personal income tax rates on people making more than $500,000 a year through the end of 2018. Excluding California, states' income tax collections grew 14.9 percent in the second quarter (REUTERS).

- Compiled by RICH EHISEN

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