TRENTON, N.J. (April 26, 2022) – The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) has released for public feedback a draft rule proposal for the Garden State Film and Digital Media Jobs Program.

The program, which was first established in 2018, was expanded under the New Jersey Economic Recovery Act of 2020 (ERA), signed by Governor Phil Murphy in January 2021. The Garden State Film and Digital Media Jobs Act, P.L. 2018, c. 56, (N.J.S.A. 54:10A-5.39b and N.J.S. 54A:4-12b) provides a transferable credit against the corporation business tax and the gross income tax for qualified expenses incurred for the production of certain film and digital media content in New Jersey. The goal of the program is to incentivize production companies to film and create digital media content in New Jersey.

“Like other programs established by the ERA, The Film and Digital Media Tax Credit program is designed to encourage equitable and inclusive development,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “The proposed rules establish criteria for the program that will ensure it is administered in a way that will create the economic impact Governor Murphy and the Legislature intended.”

Proposed rule changes include increasing the benefit for productions that submit a diversity hiring plan from two percent to four percent for hiring minority, local, on-screen talent, which will help to make sure opportunities are accessible to qualified individuals from all backgrounds. Additionally, the changes include the availability of new Studio Partner and Film-lease Partner designations which provide extra benefits to production companies who commit to establishing large production facilities in New Jersey.

Members of the public will also be able to submit feedback on the Garden State Film and Digital Media Jobs Program through the NJEDA’s ERA website (https://www.njeda.com/economicrecoveryact/) between the following dates:

  • PUBLIC FEEDBACK OPEN: April 25, 2022
  • PUBLIC FEEDBACK CLOSES: May 6, 2022

We welcome constructive input on how to ensure new programs created through and amended by the ERA are structured and administered in a manner that drives opportunities for all residents and communities. Members of the public can do that by sending an email to FilmTaxCredit@njeda.com or through the online portal on the NJEDA’s website.

All feedback received through this process will be assessed and considered when preparing the final version of the rule amendments that is proposed by the Authority for Board approval. Following potential Board approval, there will be a 60-day period for formal public comment.

For more information and to provide written input on the design and implementation of ERA programs, visit https://www.njeda.com/economicrecoveryact/.

About the NJEDA

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) serves as the State’s principal agency for driving economic growth. The NJEDA is committed to making New Jersey a national model for inclusive and sustainable economic development by focusing on key strategies to help build strong and dynamic communities, create good jobs for New Jersey residents, and provide pathways to a stronger and fairer economy. Through partnerships with a diverse range of stakeholders, the NJEDA creates and implements initiatives to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life in the State and strengthen New Jersey’s long-term economic competitiveness.

To learn more about state resources available to New Jersey entrepreneurs and early-stage companies, visit https://www.njeda.com and follow @NewJerseyEDA on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and LinkedIn.

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Establishes a $400,000 Grant Program for the Preparation of Historic Property Surveys

Trenton, N.J. (April 14, 2022) – The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) Board yesterday approved the creation of the Historic Property Survey Grant Program, which will provide $400,000 in pilot funding to municipal governments, county governments, and/or non-profit entities for the preparation of historic property surveys. The Historic Property Survey Grant Program aims to increase the overall understanding of New Jersey’s existing historic structures while serving as a tool for future economic development.

Historic Property Surveys are an invaluable resource for identifying historic properties on both the state and local level. By providing planners and local officials with an inventory of historic properties in regions or themes, these surveys assist with creating future zoning and planning documents, as well as development projects. Established by the New Jersey Economic Recovery Act of 2020, the Historic Property Survey Grant Program provides up to $125,000 in grant funding per entity for surveys, which in turn, will drive transformative change in communities across New Jersey.

“Under Governor Phil Murphy’s leadership, New Jersey continues to prioritize the creation of programs that drive inclusive and equitable community development projects,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “By providing local government entities and non-profits with grant funding for historic property surveys, New Jersey is better equipped to renew iconic properties and plan for future projects that enrich our communities.”  

“A better understanding of historic resources is an essential component of economic development and is the key to ensuring the long-term impact of investment in revitalization of historic properties,” said NJEDA Director of Historic Preservation Aidita Milsted. “The Historic Property Survey Grant Program will serve as an important planning tool that will inform decisions to create the best outcome for our communities and historic resources throughout the state.”

Full details on the Historic Property Survey Grant Program can be found here.

About the NJEDA

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) serves as the State’s principal agency for driving economic growth. The NJEDA is committed to making New Jersey a national model for inclusive and sustainable economic development by focusing on key strategies to help build strong and dynamic communities, create good jobs for New Jersey residents, and provide pathways to a stronger and fairer economy. Through partnerships with a diverse range of stakeholders, the NJEDA creates and implements initiatives to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life in the State and strengthen New Jersey’s long-term economic competitiveness.

To learn more about NJEDA resources for businesses, call NJEDA Customer Care at 844-965-1125 or visit http://www.njeda.com and follow @NewJerseyEDA on FacebookTwitterInstagramLinkedIn and YouTube.

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Authority Adopts Final List of 50 Communities that May Be Eligible for $240M in Food Desert Relief Act Funding


Trenton, N.J. (February 10, 2022) – The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) today announced that it approved the final list of New Jersey’s 50 designated Food Desert Communities during its Board meeting yesterday. Over the next several years, up to $240 million in funding through the Food Desert Relief Act will be available to strengthen food security and combat food deserts in these communities.

The Food Desert Relief Act is part of the Economic Recovery Act (ERA), signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy in January 2021. The Act directs the NJEDA to address the food security needs of communities across New Jersey by providing up to $40 million per year for six years in tax credits, loans, grants, and/or technical assistance to increase access to nutritious foods and develop new approaches to alleviate food deserts. The NJEDA expects to issue regulations later this year, a critical step in the development of any Food Desert Relief Act-related programs.

“New Jersey has long been at the forefront in the fight against food insecurity,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as the Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. “We have a moral duty to reduce food insecurity within our state’s borders and the programs we create under the Food Desert Relief Act will strengthen our ability to connect New Jerseyans in the 50 designated Food Desert Communities with access to much-needed nutritious food.”  

A January 2022 U.S. Census Bureau survey found that nearly one in 13 New Jersey households reported not having enough to eat in the past seven days. The total population of New Jerseyans residing in Food Desert Communities exceeds 1.5 million individuals across a diverse range of communities in all 21 of New Jersey’s counties.

Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin has been a vocal advocate of finding ways to eliminate food deserts and played a key role in the passage of the Food Desert Relief Act.

“The statistics surrounding food insecurity are sobering and unacceptable,” said Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin. “By approving the designation of New Jersey’s Food Desert Communities, we are a crucial step closer to directly addressing the impact of food deserts on New Jersey communities and to securing access to fresh and nutritious foods, with real brick and mortar food retailers and neighborhood food service programs, so everyone feels the comfort of knowing where their next meal will come from.”  

The designation of Food Desert Communities approved yesterday includes consideration of factors such as: food retail environment, demographics, economic indicators, and health indicators. The NJEDA developed the list and accompanying methodology for designation of the Food Desert Communities in partnership with the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (NJDCA) and the New Jersey Department of Agriculture (NJDA), along with input from the New Jersey Department of Human Services (NJDHS) and New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH). The NJEDA issued a Request for Information (RFI) in March 2021 to solicit insight into food security challenges faced by communities across the Garden State, including specific obstacles and disparities within communities that are considered “food deserts.” The RFI also asked for feedback on specific criteria for the Food Desert Communities designation. The list was created based on feedback received through the RFI process and input compiled from research and from other public-sector organizations. The final list was revised to incorporate written and verbal input submitted by members of the public based on the draft list of Food Desert Communities released in January 2022.

“The level of engagement we saw throughout the public feedback process underscores the importance of bringing the issue of hunger out of the shadows,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “Under Governor Murphy’s leadership – and armed with one of the most comprehensive process and methodology for designating Food Desert Communities in the nation – we will continue to work with our sister agencies to create a robust suite of programs to address food insecurity in every county in our state.”

“Known the world over as the Garden State, New Jersey is currently home to over 10,000 farms,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher. “We can, and must, leverage the ingenuity of our farmers and the resources made available through the Food Desert Relief Act to connect food insecure New Jerseyans with access to the fresh-grown fruits and vegetables produced at these farms.”   

Enrollment in nutrition assistance programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) were among the factors considered in the designation of the Food Desert Communities. Overseen by NJDHS, NJ SNAP served more than 900,000 New Jerseyans in 2021 and has provided more than $2 billion in extra food assistance since March 2020. NJ WIC, administered by NJDOH, served over 140,000 women and children between October 2020 and September 2021.

“The Murphy Administration is committed to combating food insecurity throughout New Jersey, and these new designations are a big step toward ensuring all residents – no matter their zip code – have access to healthy food,” Human Services Acting Commissioner Sarah Adelman said. “Healthy food promotes healthy living, and we look forward to continuing to work with the NJEDA to promote access to nutritional meals across New Jersey. We also urge anyone facing food insecurity to visit njhelps.org to see if they qualify for assistance.”

“This once is a lifetime pandemic has greatly exacerbated the issues of food insecurity in our state,” said Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “The whole-of-government approach will help us to provide the resources and supports our communities need to assist families in leading long, healthy lives.”

Today’s announcement also follows action taken yesterday by the NJEDA Board to create Phase 3 of the Authority’s Sustain & Serve NJ program. Sustain & Serve NJ supports New Jersey nonprofits combatting food insecurity by providing grants to organizations to purchase meals from local restaurants and distribute them for free to residents throughout the state. To ensure the program benefits New Jersey’s small restaurants, participating establishments must have 50 or fewer employees. To date the program has supported the purchase of nearly 3.2 million meals from over 400 restaurants. The NJEDA expects to open applications for Phase 3 of the program in early March.

The Food Desert Relief Act is part of the New Jersey Economic Recovery Act of 2021 signed into law by Governor Murphy in early 2021. In addition to the Food Desert Relief Act, the ERA creates a suite of programs that includes tax credits to incentivize job creation, new construction, and revitalization of brownfield properties; financial resources for small businesses; historic property reinvestment; new funding opportunities for early-stage companies in New Jersey; and support for the growing film and digital media industry. The NJEDA will continue to engage the public as new programs and rules are developed.

About the New Jersey Economic Development Authority

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) serves as the State’s principal agency for driving economic growth. The NJEDA is committed to making New Jersey a national model for inclusive and sustainable economic development by focusing on key strategies to help build strong and dynamic communities, create good jobs for New Jersey residents, and provide pathways to a stronger and fairer economy. Through partnerships with a diverse range of stakeholders, the NJEDA creates and implements initiatives to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life in the State and strengthen New Jersey’s long-term economic competitiveness.

To learn more about NJEDA resources for businesses call NJEDA Customer Care at 609-858-6767 or visit https://www.njeda.com and follow @NewJerseyEDA on FacebookTwitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

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Trenton, N.J. (January 4, 2022) – The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) today released a draft list of New Jersey’s 50 designated Food Desert Communities for public feedback. Over the next several years, up to $240 million in funding through the Food Desert Relief Act, part of the Economic Recovery Act (ERA) signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy in January 2021, will be available to the designated communities. The draft Food Desert Community designations were developed in partnership with the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (NJDCA) and the New Jersey Department of Agriculture (NJDA), along with input from the New Jersey Department of Human Services (NJDHS) and New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH). Anyone wishing to provide feedback can visit https://www.njeda.com/program-specific-feedback to offer input before February 4, 2022. The NJEDA will host listening sessions on January 12 (register here) and January 13, 2022 (register here) to solicit stakeholder input.

The Food Desert Relief Act directs the NJEDA to address the food security needs of communities across New Jersey by providing up to $40 million per year for six years in tax credits, loans, grants, and/or technical assistance to increase access to nutritious foods and develop new approaches to alleviate food deserts. The Act strives to facilitate development, construction, and sustainable operations of new supermarkets and grocery stores within designated Food Desert Communities. It also aims to strengthen existing community assets by arming them with the necessary equipment and infrastructure to provide healthier food options. Additionally, it is designed to help food retailers respond to the shift to e-commerce, including for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).

“We have an obligation as state leaders, and as human beings, to ensure that no New Jerseyan goes to bed hungry, regardless of their socioeconomic status,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver. “By crafting one of the most comprehensive food desert designations in the country, we are leading the nation in taking necessary steps to eradicate food deserts and remove the barriers keeping our state’s residents from accessing nutritious food.”

According to recent data from the  Community Food Bank of New Jersey, 800,000 New Jersey residents face hunger every day. Feeding America noted that 192,580 New Jersey children – one in 10 – face hunger. The number of individuals receiving NJ SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) benefits rose more than 15 percent, from 769,331 in September 2020 to 887,467 in September 2021, according to data from the NJDHS.

“Far too often, hunger hides in plain sight.  It is incumbent upon us to shine a spotlight on this all-too-prevalent issue while also bringing much-needed relief to the hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans that are affected by food insecurity,” said Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin “The NJEDA’s comprehensive designation of New Jersey’s food desert communities is an important step in this process.” 

Together with its partner agencies, the NJEDA issued a Request for Information (RFI) in March 2021 to solicit insight into food security challenges faced by communities across the Garden State, including specific obstacles and disparities within communities that are considered “food deserts.” The RFI also asked for feedback on specific criteria for the Food Desert Communities designation. The recommendations announced today included feedback received through the RFI process and input compiled from research and from other public-sector organizations. The comprehensive designation includes consideration of factors such as: food retail environment, demographics, economic indicators, and health indicators.

The draft 50 Food Desert Communities include a diverse range of communities in every county across the state.

“We are proud to unveil a robust definition of a Food Desert Community that is both reflective of the unique context of New Jersey and supportive of the hundreds of thousands of individuals affected by hunger every day,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “Today’s action to share the draft Food Desert Community designations with the public is the latest in a series of steps Governor Murphy’s administration is taking to eliminate hunger within the Garden State.”

Sullivan noted that, under Governor Murphy’s leadership, the NJEDA launched the innovative Sustain & Serve NJ program early last year. Sustain & Serve NJ grew from a $2 million pilot program designed to support New Jersey’s restaurant industry and strengthen food security into a $45 million initiative on track to support the purchase of 4.5 million nutritious meals from over 400 restaurants in all 21 counties. The meals are purchased, then distributed for free to residents throughout the state. To ensure the program benefits New Jersey’s small restaurants, participating establishments must have 50 or fewer employees.

In November, the NJDA announced that $10 million in American Rescue Funds were being provided to community food banks throughout the state.

“Food insecurity is an ongoing crisis and gathering public input to solidify the Food Desert Communities designations will help connect residents facing hunger with fresh farm products grown and produced at many of New Jersey’s 10,000 farms,” NJDA Secretary Douglas Fisher said.

The NJEDA encourages members of the public that have questions about the Food Desert Community designations, or who would like to provide input, to provide feedback at https://www.njeda.com/program-specific-feedback or email fooddesertrelief@njeda.com.

The Food Desert Relief Act is part of the New Jersey Economic Recovery Act of 2021 signed into law by Governor Murphy in early 2021. In addition to the Food Desert Relief Act, the ERA creates a suite of programs that includes tax credits to incentivize job creation, new construction, and revitalization of brownfield properties; financial resources for small businesses; historic property reinvestment; new funding opportunities for early-stage companies in New Jersey; and support for the growing film and digital media industry. The NJEDA will continue to engage the public as new programs and rules are developed.

About the New Jersey Economic Development Authority

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) serves as the State’s principal agency for driving economic growth. The NJEDA is committed to making New Jersey a national model for inclusive and sustainable economic development by focusing on key strategies to help build strong and dynamic communities, create good jobs for New Jersey residents, and provide pathways to a stronger and fairer economy. Through partnerships with a diverse range of stakeholders, the NJEDA creates and implements initiatives to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life in the State and strengthen New Jersey’s long-term economic competitiveness.

To learn more about NJEDA resources for businesses call NJEDA Customer Care at 609-858-6767 or visit https://www.njeda.com and follow @NewJerseyEDA on FacebookTwitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

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TRENTON, N.J. (November 17, 2021) – The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) today released for public feedback updated rules for the Emerge Program as amended by P.L. 2021, c. 160. Members of the public are encouraged to review the preliminary rules and submit written feedback through an online form available on the Economic Recovery Act website.

The Emerge Program is New Jersey’s new job creation incentive program created under the ERA. Through the program, small and large businesses, as well as non-profits, can apply for tax credits to support projects that meet minimum capital investment, job creation or retention, and other requirements. To date, the NJEDA has approved two projects through the Emerge Program to support more than 3,500 good jobs.   

The updated rules are the result of statutory changes made by P.L. 2021, c. 160. The draft amended rules will be available for public comment until December 1, 2021. Members of the public can review the rules and provide comment at https://www.njeda.com/economicrecoveryact/program-specific-feedback/.

In addition to the Emerge Program, the ERA creates a suite of programs that includes tax credits to incentivize job creation, new construction, and revitalization of brownfields and historic properties; financial resources for small businesses; support for new supermarkets and healthy food retailers in food desert communities; new funding opportunities for early-stage companies in New Jersey; and support for the growing film and digital media industry. The NJEDA will continue to engage the public as new programs and rules are developed.

About the New Jersey Economic Development Authority

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) serves as the State’s principal agency for driving economic growth. The NJEDA is committed to making New Jersey a national model for inclusive and sustainable economic development by focusing on key strategies to help build strong and dynamic communities, create good jobs for New Jersey residents, and provide pathways to a stronger and fairer economy. Through partnerships with a diverse range of stakeholders, the NJEDA creates and implements initiatives to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life in the State and strengthen New Jersey’s long-term economic competitiveness.

To learn more about NJEDA resources for businesses call NJEDA Customer Care at 609-858-6767 or visit https://www.njeda.com and follow @NewJerseyEDA on FacebookTwitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

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TRENTON, N.J. (November 10, 2021) – The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) today released for public feedback rules for the Net Operating Loss (NOL) Program as updated under the New Jersey Economic Recovery Act of 2020 (ERA) and P.L. 2021, c. 160, including new measures to support woman- and minority-owned businesses. Members of the public are encouraged to review the preliminary rules and submit written feedback through an online form available on the Economic Recovery Act website.

“Governor Phil Murphy is committed to driving long-term economic growth in New Jersey by building the most diverse, inclusive innovation ecosystem in the nation,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “The NOL Program has a long history of success helping early-stage companies with the greatest growth potential launch and grow in New Jersey. The updated program rules released today will increase this important program’s impact and help us continue to grow New Jersey’s innovation economy.”

The NOL Program enables tech and life sciences companies to sell their New Jersey net operating losses and/or research and development (R&D) tax credits for cash. Buyers can purchase tax credits at a discount and apply them to reduce taxable income.

To date, more than $1.07 billion in funding has been distributed to over 550 technology and life sciences companies since the NOL Program’s inception in the late 1990s. In 2020, 49 companies were approved to sell a combined $54 million through the program. The average award for companies approved to sell their net operating losses through the program last year was $1.1 million.

The updated rules released today incorporate changes mandated in the ERA, including increasing the NOL Program’s annual cap from $60 million to $75 million and raising the lifetime cap for an individual company from $15 million to $20 million. The updated rules also expand the type of participating companies subject to the initial allocation to include companies located within an opportunity zone and certified woman- or minority-owned businesses.

Draft NOL Program rules will be available for public comment until November 24, 2021. Members of the public can review the rules and provide comment at https://www.njeda.com/economicrecoveryact/program-specific-feedback/.

In addition to the NOL Program, the ERA creates a suite of programs that includes tax credits to incentivize job creation, new construction, and revitalization of brownfields and historic properties; financial resources for small businesses; support for new supermarkets and healthy food retailers in food desert communities; new funding opportunities for early-stage companies in New Jersey; and support for the growing film and digital media industry. The NJEDA will continue to engage the public as new programs and rules are developed.

About the New Jersey Economic Development Authority

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) serves as the State’s principal agency for driving economic growth. The NJEDA is committed to making New Jersey a national model for inclusive and sustainable economic development by focusing on key strategies to help build strong and dynamic communities, create good jobs for New Jersey residents, and provide pathways to a stronger and fairer economy. Through partnerships with a diverse range of stakeholders, the NJEDA creates and implements initiatives to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life in the State and strengthen New Jersey’s long-term economic competitiveness.

To learn more about NJEDA resources for businesses call NJEDA Customer Care at 609-858-6767 or visit https://www.njeda.com and follow @NewJerseyEDA on FacebookTwitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

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TRENTON, N.J. (November 10, 2021) – The New Jersey Economic Development Authority Board today approved rules for the Aspire Program, a place-based economic development program created under the New Jersey Economic Recovery Act of 2020 (ERA) that supports mixed use, transit-oriented development by providing tax credits to commercial and residential real estate development projects that have financing gaps.

As authorized by the ERA, the Board approved rules that will be effective immediately for a short-term duration, enabling the NJEDA to move forward with instituting the program this year. Concurrently, the Board also approved publishing the rules for public comment prior to adopting longer-term rules.

“New Jersey’s economy is growing, and with economic growth comes the need for housing and commercial development,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “The Aspire Program is a much-needed incentive that will support the construction of new housing and commercial projects throughout the state, with an emphasis on communities that have been left out of growth in the past.”

“Supporting equitable development and growth that aligns with communities’ priorities is central to Governor Murphy’s economic plan,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “The Aspire Program rules approved today establish the framework for a robust policy that will support much-needed mixed use, transit-oriented development in communities all around New Jersey. Importantly, these rules also build in much-needed safeguards to ensure transparency, accountability, and fiscal responsibility. This is an important step forward for New Jersey that will drive sustainable, inclusive growth.”

“The Aspire Program rules that were approved today will facilitate the development of transformative mixed-income, mixed-use projects that will promote housing opportunity and economic growth throughout our state,” said NJHMFA Executive Director Melanie R. Walter. “We look forward to working with community and development partners to implement these rules, seamlessly combining Aspire and Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, from the NJEDA and HMFA, respectively, and leveraging these valuable resources to produce high-impact, high-quality development that benefits our residents.”

The Aspire Program is part of the suite of programs created under the ERA to address the ongoing economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and build a stronger, fairer New Jersey economy. The Board action taken today approved special adoption rules for the Aspire Program, which will go into effect immediately upon filing with the Office of Administrative Law and will remain in effect for 180 days. During this time, the NJEDA will propose the same rules as long-term rules and undertake the Administrative Procedures Act required 60-day public comment process. This dual track approach, authorized by the ERA, will allow the Authority to begin accepting applications near the end of this calendar year, when Aspire’s predecessor program, the Economic Redevelopment and Growth (ERG) Program, sunsets.

In line with the Murphy Administration’s Executive Order 63 and the NJEDA’s commitment to transparency and accountability, and in anticipation of today’s vote, the NJEDA publicly posted a draft copy of the Aspire Program proposed rules several weeks ago and actively sought public feedback. This feedback process included two public listening sessions, an opportunity to submit written overall programmatic comments, and a channel to submit detailed feedback on the proposed rules.

The Aspire Program encourages mixed use, transit-oriented development in New Jersey by providing tax credits to commercial and residential development projects that have a financing gap. The amount of tax credits a project is eligible to receive is a percentage of the project’s eligible costs, subject to a cap that is determined by the project’s location, other financing available, and other aspects of the project. Most projects are eligible for tax credits up to $42 million, but projects that meet specific criteria may receive tax credits up to $60 million. Projects that qualify as “transformative projects” may receive tax credits up to $350 million.

To be eligible for Aspire Program tax credits, a project must be located in an eligible incentive location, which may include: Planning Area 1, Aviation District, Port District, or Planning Area 2 or other Designated Center that is within a half mile of a rail transit station or a high frequency bus stop. Film production projects may be located anywhere in the State.

Projects must also meet minimum size and cost thresholds. Commercial projects must include at least 100,000 square feet of retail or commercial space. Residential projects must have eligible project costs totaling $5 million to $17.5 million depending on location.

Projects that meet certain parameters can qualify as “transformative projects” and receive tax credits above and beyond the caps that are established for standard projects. Transformative projects must have eligible costs of at least $100 million and be at least 500,000 square feet or up to 250,000 square feet for film studio projects. Transformative projects must also demonstrate special economic importance to New Jersey and leverage New Jersey’s mass transit assets, higher education assets, and other economic development assets to attract or retain employers and skilled workers.

In addition to meeting these baseline eligibility requirements, the developer of a project seeking Aspire Program tax credits must be in substantial good standing with the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (DOL), the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and the Department of the Treasury. Projects must also comply with environmental laws (including flood hazard requirements), meet green building requirements, and pay prevailing wages to construction workers and building service workers. Retail, warehouse, and/or hospitality establishments with a certain number of employees that are included in projects with a State proprietary interest and that receive tax credits must enter into a labor harmony agreement with a labor organization or cooperating labor organizations that represent relevant employees in the State.

In line with Governor Murphy and the NJEDA’s commitment to fiscal responsibility and transparency, the Aspire Program rules include provisions, such as a gap financing review, excess revenue sharing requirements, and a net positive economic benefit test for most projects, to ensure tax credits are awarded responsibly.

Collectively, projects under the Aspire Program and the Emerge Program – a separate ERA tax incentive program focused on attracting high-quality jobs to New Jersey – are subject to a program cap of $1.1 billion per year in tax credit awards for each of the first six years of the programs, with the cap split between northern and southern counties. Unused amounts may be carried forward each year, and any remaining unused tax credits are available in the seventh year.

The Aspire Program rules also include requirements to ensure that communities where projects are located participate in and benefit from the economic growth the project generates. As part of the application for projects, applicants must provide a letter of support from the governing body of the municipality or municipalities in which the project is located and projects with an eligible project cost equaling or exceeding $10 million must also enter into a Community Benefits Agreement with the Authority and municipality or county in which the project is located.

Furthermore, projects including newly constructed residential units must set aside at least 20 percent for occupancy by low- and moderate-income households. The NJEDA will build on the coordination and collaboration practices with the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA) that were established under the ERG program to ensure that Aspire projects with affordable housing components comply with housing rules and meet the housing needs of New Jersey’s growing work force.

In addition to the Aspire Program, the ERA creates a suite of programs that includes tax credits to incentivize job creation, new construction, and revitalization of brownfields and historic properties; financial resources for small businesses; support for new supermarkets and healthy food retailers in food desert communities; new funding opportunities for early-stage companies in New Jersey; and support for the growing film and digital media industry. More information about these programs is available at https://njeda.com/economicrecoveryact.

About the New Jersey Economic Development Authority

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) serves as the State’s principal agency for driving economic growth. The NJEDA is committed to making New Jersey a national model for inclusive and sustainable economic development by focusing on key strategies to help build strong and dynamic communities, create good jobs for New Jersey residents, and provide pathways to a stronger and fairer economy. Through partnerships with a diverse range of stakeholders, the NJEDA creates and implements initiatives to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life in the State and strengthen New Jersey’s long-term economic competitiveness.

To learn more about NJEDA resources for businesses call NJEDA Customer Care at 609-858-6767 or visit https://www.njeda.com and follow @NewJerseyEDA on FacebookTwitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

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TRENTON, N.J. (October 18, 2021) – Applications for the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) Small Business Lease Grant open Wednesday, October 20th, at 9:00 a.m.

The Small Business Lease Grant provides grants up to 20 percent of annual lease payments to small businesses and nonprofits entering new or amended market-rate leases for at least 250 square feet of street-level space. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until all funds are awarded.

More information and the application are available at https://www.njeda.com/small-business-lease-grant/.

Please Note: This announcement is for the Small Business Lease Grant only, which is a separate program from the Small Business Improvement Grant. Applications for the Small Business Improvement Grant will launch at a later date, which the NJEDA will communicate to the public on its website and through social media accounts prior to application launch.

Program Details

The Small Business Lease Grant is a $10 million program designed to revitalize downtowns and main streets by offsetting a portion of the cost associated with businesses and nonprofits leasing street-level space.

Through the program, eligible businesses and nonprofits that are entering new or amended market rate leases can receive two grants totaling up to 20 percent of annual lease payments. The first grant will be paid to entities immediately after they are approved for the program and execute the grant agreement, and the second grant will be paid after the first year of the lease.

To qualify, businesses and nonprofits must enter a new lease, lease amendment, or lease extension that includes at least 250 square feet of street-level office, commercial, or retail space. The applicant must also commit to remaining in the leased space for at least five years. Complete eligibility criteria are available at https://www.njeda.com/small-business-lease-grant/.

In line with Governor Phil Murphy’s commitment to a stronger, fairer recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, 40 percent of the $10 million allocated to the Small Business Lease Grant will be targeted to businesses and nonprofits in census tracts that were eligible to be designated as Opportunity Zones. This targeting will help to ensure resources are available to minority- and women-owned entities and communities that have faced disproportionate burdens as a result of COVID-19.

The Small Business Lease Grant is the first of several programs the NJEDA will launch in the coming months under the Main Street Recovery Program. Created under the New Jersey Economic Recovery Act of 2020, the Main Street Recovery Program is a $100 million small business support program that will fund multiple financial assistance products aimed at supporting the growth and success of small businesses in New Jersey. More information about the Main Street Recovery Program is available at https://www.njeda.com/main-street-recovery-fund/.

About the New Jersey Economic Development Authority

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) serves as the State’s principal agency for driving economic growth. The NJEDA is committed to making New Jersey a national model for inclusive and sustainable economic development by focusing on key strategies to help build strong and dynamic communities, create good jobs for New Jersey residents, and provide pathways to a stronger and fairer economy. Through partnerships with a diverse range of stakeholders, the NJEDA creates and implements initiatives to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life in the State and strengthen New Jersey’s long-term economic competitiveness.

To learn more about NJEDA resources for businesses call NJEDA Customer Care at 609-858-6767 or visit https://www.njeda.com and follow @NewJerseyEDA on FacebookTwitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

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TRENTON, N.J. (September 10, 2021) – The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) today released for public feedback a draft rule proposal for the Aspire Program, as established under the New Jersey Economic Recovery Act of 2020 (ERA). The Aspire Program is a gap financing tool to support commercial, mixed use, and residential real estate development projects.

Members of the public are encouraged to review the preliminary rules and submit written feedback through an online form available on the Economic Recovery Act website. The NJEDA will also be hosting two listening sessions for public input on the draft rules.

“As we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is crucial that we support new investments in our communities,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “The Aspire Program will facilitate equitable, community-supported residential and commercial development projects that make our communities vibrant live, work, play destinations that better serve residents and help attract successful companies and top-notch talent.”

Draft Aspire Program rules are available now for review at https://www.njeda.com/economicrecoveryact/program-specific-feedback/.

Members of the public can also provide input during the NJEDA’s public listening sessions, which are scheduled for the following times:

  • Friday, September 17th at 3:00 p.m.
  • Monday, September 20th at 3:00 p.m.

Members of the public can access the listening sessions at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83755290991?pwd=M1lzWWdaaGwrdi85MDhuRk4vUVdRUT09; Passcode: Aspire.

Members of the media interested in attending the session or submitting questions are asked to email media@njeda.com.  

In addition to the Aspire Program, the ERA creates a suite of programs that includes tax credits to incentivize job creation, new construction, and revitalization of brownfields and historic properties; financial resources for small businesses; support for new supermarkets and healthy food retailers in food desert communities; new funding opportunities for early-stage companies in New Jersey; and support for the growing film and digital media industry. The NJEDA will continue to engage the public as new programs and rules are developed.

For more information and to provide written input on the design and implementation of Economic Recovery Act programs, visihttps://www.njeda.com/economicrecoveryact/.

About the New Jersey Economic Development Authority

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) serves as the State’s principal agency for driving economic growth. The NJEDA is committed to making New Jersey a national model for inclusive and sustainable economic development by focusing on key strategies to help build strong and dynamic communities, create good jobs for New Jersey residents, and provide pathways to a stronger and fairer economy. Through partnerships with a diverse range of stakeholders, the NJEDA creates and implements initiatives to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life in the State and strengthen New Jersey’s long-term economic competitiveness.

To learn more about NJEDA resources for businesses call NJEDA Customer Care at 609-858-6767 or visit https://www.njeda.com and follow @NewJerseyEDA on FacebookTwitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

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TRENTON, N.J. (August 11, 2021) – The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) Board today approved rules for the Main Street Recovery Program. Created under the Economic Recovery Act of 2020 (ERA), the Main Street Recovery Program is a $100 million small business support program that will fund multiple financial assistance products aimed at supporting the growth and success of small businesses in New Jersey. More information is available at https://www.njeda.com/main-street-recovery-fund/.

“Supporting small businesses is the centerpiece of Governor Phil Murphy’s plan for a stronger, fairer recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “The Main Street Recovery Program approved today will build on the NJEDA’s successful COVID-19 relief programs to provide new resources tailored specifically to help business owners recover from the impacts of the pandemic and prepare for long-term success.”  

The rules approved today create two grant products funded by the Main Street Recovery Program: the Small Business Lease Assistance Grant and the Small Business Improvement Grant.

The Small Business Lease Assistance Grant is a $10 million program that will provide grants to businesses entering new or amended leases with at least five-year terms that include at least 250 square feet of street-level space. This grant funding will offset a portion of annual lease payments for two years.

The Small Business Improvement Grant is a $15 million program that will provide grants up to $50,000 to reimburse businesses for a portion of costs associated with improvements and/or the purchase or installation of furniture, fixtures, and equipment since March 9, 2020.  

Applications for these programs are currently under development. The NJEDA will announce the application timeline for both programs soon.

In addition to the Small Business Lease Assistance Grant and the Small Business Improvement Grant, the NJEDA intends to pilot additional products to be funded through the Main Street Recovery Program. The Authority anticipates these pilot programs will include financing to help microbusiness lenders provide more low-cost loans and technical assistance for microbusinesses and an expansion of the NJEDA’s existing Micro Business Loan Program through which the Authority will provide low-cost financing directly to eligible microbusinesses.

In line with Governor Murphy’s commitment to a stronger, fairer recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, 40 percent of all Main Street Recovery Program funds are reserved for businesses located in census tracts that were eligible to be designated as Opportunity Zones. Providing dedicated funding for these census tracts helps to ensure equitable access to resources for communities and businesses that have historically struggled to access resources.

The Main Street Recovery Program is part of a suite of programs created or expanded under the ERA that includes tax credits to incentivize job creation, new construction, and revitalization of brownfields and historic properties; financial resources for small businesses; support for new supermarkets and healthy food retailers in food desert communities; new funding opportunities for early-stage companies in New Jersey; and support for the growing film and digital media industry. The NJEDA will continue to engage the public as new programs and rules are developed.

About the New Jersey Economic Development Authority

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) serves as the State’s principal agency for driving economic growth. The NJEDA is committed to making New Jersey a national model for inclusive and sustainable economic development by focusing on key strategies to help build strong and dynamic communities, create good jobs for New Jersey residents, and provide pathways to a stronger and fairer economy. Through partnerships with a diverse range of stakeholders, the NJEDA creates and implements initiatives to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life in the State and strengthen New Jersey’s long-term economic competitiveness.

To learn more about NJEDA resources for businesses call NJEDA Customer Care at 609-858-6767 or visit https://www.njeda.com and follow @NewJerseyEDA on FacebookTwitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

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