It was one year ago this week that Gov. Chris Christie put pen to paper on the Economic Opportunity Act of 2013, a major overhaul of the state’s incentives offerings that streamlined five existing programs down to two.At a news conference Thursday in Trenton, Christie said that, looking back on it, the law has been “so far, pretty good” in its first year.
Christie immediately pointed to Camden as an example. In the past year, under the new programs, the city has seen Economic Development Authority approvals for several big-ticket incentive awards, such as $260 million for Holtec International and $82 million for the Philadelphia 76ers, for projects on the Camden waterfront.
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“We’ve gotten a lot of attention down in Camden, which I think is necessary,” Christie said. “I think it’s working well there.”
Christie added that the programs have been able to “get a lot of things done” in North Jersey, as well.
Still, Christie said the law is “not necessarily exactly what I would want to do,” but noted that it was “the product of a compromise with the Legislature.”
Christie also is calling on the Legislature to concur with recommendations he put forth in a conditional veto last week to a supplemental bill to the law that would designate Atlantic City as a “Garden State Growth Zone,” making non-gaming projects there eligible for the strongest available incentives.
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“If, in fact, everyone is concerned and wants to continue the conversion of Atlantic City from purely a gaming place to a complete resort, the provisions that I put into the Economic Opportunity Act under the conditional approval is something that I think they should take up, and take up quickly,” Christie said. “It would send a great signal to Atlantic City.”
Christie said he hopes the bill will be confirmed and returned to him soon.
“I hope that the Senate and the Assembly take that up very quickly and confirm the changes that I’ve recommended,” Christie said. “If they do, I can guarantee them that I will sign it immediately and get it to work for Atlantic City.”
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