On Monday, the State Senate unanimously approved S-2256, a bill which establishes the "Main Street Assistance Program" to provide financial and technical assistance to businesses located in the “Main Street area” within a “small municipality” The bill's purpose is to encourage business development in small municipalities having substantially developed commercial areas.
There are two ways to qualify for the assistance as a "small municipality. First, a municipality with a population of less than 20,000, according to the latest decennial census, can qualify, if it is over 70% developed, according to the 2012 New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) land use/land cover data set. Second, a county seat can qualify, if its population was less than 11,000, according to the last census.
The bill authorizes the governing body of a small municipality to designate a Main Street area in the municipality. To designate a Main Street area, the governing body must provide a statement of intent to the Economic Development Authority (EDA) setting forth the municipality's findings concerning the economic conditions existing in the Main Street area and the municipality's intentions for addressing them.
For a business to be eligible to receive financial and technical assistance from the EDA under the program, at least 15 percent of the full-time employees of the business are to reside within the small municipality. Under the bill, the EDA is to work cooperatively with other State agencies to explore and implement opportunities to direct resources and create enhanced incentives for Main Street area businesses participating in the program.
The bill provides qualifying Main Street area businesses with corporation business tax credits and gross income tax credits equal to 15% of the cost of employee compensation expenses. The bill, further, requires the EDA to establish a "Main Street Assistance Fund," which would be used to provide loans, loan guarantees, and technical assistance to Main Street area businesses.
We support this bill, and expect it to join its companion, A-1183, in the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee.
Contact: Jon Moran, Senior Legislative Analyst, firstname.lastname@example.org, 609-695-3481, x121.