Carteret, NJ – Mayor Dan Reiman and the Economic Development Office have announced that the New Jersey Enterprise Zone Authority has extended Carteret’s Urban Enterprise Zone designations 15 years. Continuing U.E.Z. status will allow for ongoing economic growth in the Borough, according to Mayor Reiman, by providing consumer incentives through the program’s 3.5% savings on state sales tax, and the generation of up to $1.5 million in annual U.E.Z. revenue for reinvestment.
Carteret’s current U.E.Z. designation was set to expire March of this year.
New Jersey’s Urban Enterprise (UEZ) Program was enacted in 1983, and as of October 2008 is administered by the Department of Community Affairs. The program was created to foster an economic climate that revitalizes designated urban communities and stimulates their growth by encouraging businesses to develop and create private sector jobs through, public and private investment.
The program was designed specifically to benefit business communities in “urban need” areas like Carteret, offering participating businesses many incentives that encourage business growth and stimulate local economies state-wide. It now supports more than 6,500 businesses and 139,000 full-time jobs in the state, and has attracted $26.4 billion in private investment. Benefits include a number of tax and other financial incentives that have contributed to the establishment and/or growth of 28,000 businesses state-wide.
Through the program, sales tax revenues generated by UEZ businesses are dedicated for use within the zones for economic development projects. To date, more than 2,281 such projects have been approved at a value of $774 million. Businesses participating in the UEZ Program can charge half the standard sales tax rate on certain purchases. In addition, UEZ businesses may enjoy tax exemptions on certain purchases and manufacturers may qualify for sales tax exemption on their energy and utility consumption when they meet specified employment and other criteria.
For each new permanent full-time employee hired, businesses may receive a one-time $1,500 tax credit. Alternatively, the UEZ Program allows a tax credit against the Corporate Business Tax up to eight percent of qualified investments within the zone. Also, businesses may be eligible for priority financial assistance.
Employers may also benefit from subsidized unemployment insurance costs for certain employees who earn less than $4,500 per quarter.
Other benefits have included:
- Energy and utility service sales tax exemption on consumption within an enterprise zone by manufacturing firms with at least 250 employees, over 50% of whom are in a manufacturing process.
- Business Retention and Relocation Assistance Grant (“BRRAG”) for relocation and retention of at least 250 non-retail jobs where the grant is a material factor. Special limitations/bonuses for UEZs.
- Business Employment Incentive Program (“BEIP”) applicants may be eligible for a grant award of up to 50% of the State income taxes withheld for new employees hired, may increase up to 80% if “Smart Growth”.
From the initial 10 UEZs that were designated in 1984, the program has grown to 32 zones in 37 municipalities throughout the state.
Carteret received its initial U.E.Z. designation in 1995. Since then, approximately 2/3 of the densely populated 4.4 square mile town has been designated U.E.Z.. 307 businesses have registered with the U.E.Z. to date, leading to the establishment of 2,773 full-time jobs, 268 part-time jobs, and the reinvestment of $839,357,562 in private business revenue.
According to Mayor Reiman, the presence of a number of large businesses have in part been owed to the incentives provided through the U.E.Z.. This has included a formerly troublesome 113 acre landfill at Turnpike Interchange 12, which stood inactive for close to # years, stifling other state programs and impracticable redevelopment plans posed by former administrations. State “Portfields Initiatives” and a low-interest $38.5 million E.D.A. loan allowed for the remediation of the site, while U.E.Z. construction cost savings enticed Panatonni Development to the area to build the $100 million IPORT-12, state-of-the-art logistics center. Through the U.E.Z., new businesses have been tax exempt from construction costs associated with building new facilities in Carteret. This has played a major part in some of the town’s more recent and sizeable residential projects including Meridian Terrace and Bristol Station.
Other notable businesses that have been established within the U.E.Z. include Radisson Suites and P.C. Richard & Son, who recently constructed a 330,000 sq. ft. warehouse and distribution facility, with a 60,000 sq. ft. retail and clearance center, planned for 2010. The $100 million private investment has provided for $15 million in union construction jobs, and the conversion of 15 acres of formerly underperforming light industrial space.
“There’s no overlooking the huge range of improvements that can be directly attributed to Carteret’s U.E.Z. status,” Mayor Reiman stated. “We now play home to high-tech industries whose presence would have been unthinkable 10 years ago, contributing substantially to our tax base, providing thousands of private sector jobs, and setting new quality of life standards in the Borough. Strategic business grant and loan programs and streetscape improvements made possible through the U.E.Z. have provided incentives towards the establishment of new businesses, and the growth of our existing business community, allowing us to continually reinvest in both Carteret and New Jersey at no cost to taxpayers and entrepreneurs, and to readjust these programs according to our evolving needs as a dynamic center of revitalization.”
Since its inception the Carteret UEZ Zone Assistance fund has provided $5,434,405 million of sales tax revenue for Carteret UEZ projects, directed to create employment services, business stimulus, infrastructure, redevelopment, and additional property tax relief. This resource has allowed for an enormous range of local improvements, according to the Borough’s Office of Economic Development, along with a range of new business start-up programs and loans;
- 5/99 Development of town businesses $760,000
- 3/03 Streetscape improvements $2,508,930
- 5/04 Washington Avenue acquisition & façade improvements $800,000
- 2/06 Public Library / computer lab $40,000
- 9/08 Façade, sign, & awning matching grant program $175,000
- 12/08 Health & Wellness Center $500,000
- 8/09 Micro-Loan program $350,000
- Startup grants $150,000
- 11/09 Marketing enhancement grant $150,475
“Because the Borough has relied substantially on the U.E.Z. to make many of our programs and improvements possible, we’re especially thankful that the U.E.Z. Authority has recognized the importance of the continuation of Carteret’s U.E.Z. designation,” Councilman and Borough Finance Chair Jorge Diaz stated.
“It shouldn’t be overlooked that Carteret’s economic recovery, which is well documented, has been owed to a good extent to the various programs that are tied to our U.E.Z.. This designation will allow us to continue with our efforts to foster economic growth in these areas,” Carteret U.E.Z. Board Chairman Al Walsh added.