N.J. business incentive measure advances

After Gov. Chris Christie made some changes with a conditional veto, the New Jersey Assembly has passed a revised bill to provide incentives for job growth.

The Economic Opportunity Act consolidates the state’s tax incentive programs and allows small and medium-size businesses in all areas of New Jersey to get state subsidies to expand and create jobs.

New Jersey Sierra Club director Jeff Tittel is concerned that the measure will end up creating new development in the state’s last remaining open spaces.

“We’re now subsidizing developers and giving them ‘sprawl fare’ to build in places like the Pinelands, on environmentally sensitive farmland, and in the Highlands,” Tittel said Monday.

No preserved land is at risk because of the legislation, insisted Assemblyman Al Coutinho, the bill’s primary sponsor.

“There is not one piece of land that could not have been built on before this bill that will be able to be built on after it,” said Coutinho, D-Essex.

The state Senate also has to vote on the measure before it becomes law.

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