Browsing articles in "Policy"

Opinion: Revitalizing NJ for Its Newest Generation of Knowledge Workers

Apr 3, 2013   //   by PlanSmart NJ   //   Economic Development, Economic Redevelopment and Growth Grant Program (ERG), Lucy Vandenberg, New Jersey, NJ Spotlight, Opinion, PlanSmart NJ, Policy, Redevelopment, Speaks Out Blog  //  Comments Off on Opinion: Revitalizing NJ for Its Newest Generation of Knowledge Workers

The Economic Opportunity Act of 2013 could help fund the redevelopment of the state’s urban centers and suburban office parks

Earlier this month, both Senate and Assembly committees took up the Economic Opportunity Act of 2013, a mammoth piece of legislation that consolidates New Jersey’s disparate economic development incentive programs into two. Grow NJ is focused on attracting and retaining companies here in New Jersey, while the Economic Redevelopment and Growth Grant Program (ERG) creates incentives for development and redevelopment in urban and other designated areas.
The bills are moving fast and have garnered widespread support muted by some criticism.

Grow NJ provides financial incentives to companies to encourage economic growth and job creation, as well as to preserve jobs in New Jersey that are at risk of relocation. The bill links incentives to specific job creation goals based on industry type and minimum capital investment thresholds. It also provides increased tax credits to companies that locate in urban and distressed municipalities. Additional tax-credit awards are offered to companies locating in impoverished areas, building near public transit, providing jobs in New Jersey’s targeted growth industries, and adhering to green-design standards, among other categories. Read more >>

Opinion: Federal Funding Is Only One Way to Speed Recovery from Sandy

Jan 16, 2013   //   by PlanSmart NJ   //   Green Acres, Historic Preservation, NJ Keep It Green Coalition, NJ Spotlight, Opinion, Policy, Sandy, Speaks Out Blog  //  Comments Off on Opinion: Federal Funding Is Only One Way to Speed Recovery from Sandy

Long-term funding for Green Acres and other preservation programs can ease the impact of Sandy, future extreme storms

In last week’s State of the State address, Gov. Chris Christie called on congressional leaders to swiftly appropriate all $60 billion in federal disaster relief for New Jersey.

New Jersey residents are united in wanting to see these funds appropriated quickly.

New Jersey’s elected leaders also have a unique opportunity to mitigate the impacts of Hurricane Sandy and future storms. How? By creating a long-term source of state funding for acquiring, preserving, and protecting open space, waterways, parks, farmland, and historic sites.

Doing so will also help leverage federal dollars for flood protection.

Unfortunately, the funding stream for preservation efforts in New Jersey has run dry. The Legislature has appropriated the last of the funds from the 2009 voter-approved bond issue that provided $400 million for Blue Acres, Green Acres, Farmland Preservation, and Historic Preservation programs. Read more >>

Opinion: A High-Speed Rail Link Will Carry NJ Into the Future

Jul 30, 2012   //   by PlanSmart NJ   //   High Speed Rail, Opinion, Policy, Speaks Out Blog, Transportation  //  Comments Off on Opinion: A High-Speed Rail Link Will Carry NJ Into the Future

The state can’t function effectively with an outmoded rail system that strains to carry millions of residents to work

Image Source: Aecom

Earlier this month, Amtrak released its integrated long-range plan for upgrading the Northeast Corridor (NEC) train line and leaping into the future with a high-speed rail link between Washington, D.C., and Boston. The plans call for making substantial improvements to the current system to increase reliability, reduce travel time, and expand capacity. They also call for finally creating a next-gen , high-speed rail system in the Northeast, to be operational by 2040. The estimated cost over the 2012-2040 period totals $151 billion. Approximately $110 billion of that would be for high-speed rail service and the remainder for capacity improvements. Read more >>

Opinion: How Regional Government Can Help New Jersey Thrive

Jun 18, 2012   //   by PlanSmart NJ   //   Consolidation, Municipal Government, Opinion, Policy, Speaks Out Blog  //  Comments Off on Opinion: How Regional Government Can Help New Jersey Thrive

With bill before lawmakers, anything we do to curb ‘municipal madness’ is good for NJ

By Lucy Vandenberg, June 12, 2012 in NJ Spotlight

A bill making it easier for New Jersey’s municipalities to merge by identifying funding sources that can be used for consolidation expenses was recently passed by the NJ Senate and introduced in the Assembly last week. Various efforts have been made by the Legislature over the years to encourage municipal consolidation, including the Municipal Consolidation Act of 1978, the Sparsely Populated Municipal Consolidation Act of 1995, and the Local Option Municipal Consolidation Act of 2007. Each of these laws has created new incentives or more flexibility to encourage municipal consolidation.

Since reaching a peak of 568 municipalities in 1957, however, only two sets of municipalities have merged, with the recent Princeton Township/Princeton Borough merger to take effect on January 1, 2013, bringing the total number of mergers to three, and reducing the number of municipalities to 565.

While a small step, anything the Legislature or citizens can do to encourage consolidation is a good thing.


Opinion: How People, Places Can Shape Economic Growth

Apr 11, 2012   //   by PlanSmart NJ   //   Opinion, Policy, Speaks Out Blog, State Plan  //  Comments Off on Opinion: How People, Places Can Shape Economic Growth

Both have roles in the state’s Strategic Plan to spur development

Image Source: Chris Lynch, Digital Irvine

Last week, the public comment period closed for the new State Strategic Plan. Last updated more than 10 years ago, it is intended to guide New Jersey’s physical growth and development.

The document is relevant to anyone who cares about how and where New Jersey will grow in the future, how it will foster economic growth, what types of infrastructure investments will be made, and what’s being done to create vibrant, diverse communities here in the Garden State. A vote on the revised version of the State Strategic Plan incorporating public comments is expected at the April 25 state Planning Commission meeting. Read more >>

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