Lawmakers weigh plan to keep business call centers in N.J.

New Jersey’s Assembly will vote Thursday on a bill that could save some call-center jobs in the state.

The measure would require companies to notify state officials 120 days before moving call-center services beyond the U.S.

Assemblywoman Connie Wagner, D-Bergen, says any business that makes that move would be barred from getting tax breaks from the state.

“Companies in New Jersey that transfer 30 percent or more of call services overseas will not receive any assistance in the form of loans, tax incentives, or any other form of financial incentives,” she said.

Union officials who represent call-center workers in New Jersey say there are plenty of people who want those jobs. They’re hoping the threat of losing state subsidies will encourage companies not to transfer the services overseas.

“In the past 10 years, we’ve seen the number of jobs in New Jersey cut in half,” said Seth Hahn of the Communications Workers of America. “Our position is that when taxpayers invest in companies and when taxpayers are generous to these companies that they need to be creating jobs in our communities.”

Supporters of the legislation also are concerned about the security of transferring information to call centers in countries that don’t have strict consumer protection laws.

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