On Thursday, November 29, the Assembly Human Services Committee held a hearing on a number of bills meant to address the problem of hunger in New Jersey. One bill, A-4700, the “Food Desert Elimination Act,” is intended to provide incentives to supermarkets and grocery stores that locate in “food deserts.” (The United States Department of Agriculture – USDA – publishes an online Food Access Research Atlas, which identifies “food deserts.”)
The bill would give food stores that locate in “food deserts” State tax benefits that would equal local property taxes on the property. As originally drafted, the bill would also allow the State’s Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) to award ‘special retail distribution permits’ to the stores, contingent on the approval of the local governing body.
As amended, the bill denies local officials any power to limit the ABC’s authority to issue such permits, which would allow the grocer to sell alcoholic beverages for off-site consumption.
The League welcomes any initiatives that seek to address hunger in our State. We would support efforts to make healthy, nutritious food available to all New Jerseyans.
The League is reaching out to the sponsors of this bill to express these concerns. We will advise you of any developments.
Contact: Jon Moran, Senior Legislative Analyst, email@example.com, 609-695-3481 x121.