Now is the worse time to limit Urban Enterprise Zones
By Assemblyman John AmodeoMarch 21, 2012My support for the urban enterprise zone program is based on my underlying philosophythat private sector job creation is the best social program of all. By reducing the sales tax onproducts sold and by providing other tax incentives, this program helps business owners create jobs and invest in and rebuild our cities.Started in New Jersey under Governor Kean, Urban Enterprise Zones or UEZs cameabout following a push at the Federal level by President Ronald Reagan. For Reagan, theyoffered a bold new means of invigorating economically crippled communities and improving thelives of some of our most disadvantaged citizens where traditional government programs hadfailed. Instead of giving government handouts, President Reagan wanted to give the privatesector a leg up.The Assembly bill that would force UEZ merchants to charge the full 7 percent sales taxfor goods delivered to customers located outside the zone’s boundaries is a proposal I cannotsupport. These tax incentives are not just meant for those customers who live within its’ zonebut for everyone.I also reject the notion that UEZ businesses make it uncompetitive for others. Operatingin depressed areas comes with its own difficulties and competitive disadvantages. Providingthese incentives only levels the playing field and achieves an important policy objective:encouraging development and attracting investors to improve our hurting cities. Obviously,there have been some mistakes in the program throughout the state but those mistakes can becorrected. Businesses in UEZs don’t like cheaters anymore than anyone else.The tax savings these businesses realize or pass along to their customers is an importanteconomic driver and a vital investment in these communities. Many Businesses have told methat they would have opened in the suburbs if it wasn’t for the enterprise zone designation.