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            Senator Sean Kean expressed hope today that the state’s Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ) program will remain in place and continue to help stimulate aging town centers.  The program allows municipalities to collect only half of the states sales tax in the designated UEZ, currently the sales tax rate in UEZs is 3.5 percent.

            “The UEZs in Asbury Park and Long Branch are helping transform the town centers to shopping destinations by offering incentives to businesses that locate in a UEZ and to consumers that shop there” Kean stated.  “Additionally, the UEZs help preserve our dwindling open space by concentrating development in areas already built up.”

            The UEZ program began in 1983 with the mission to help revitalize some of the state’s most unsettled city centers.  The authorizing legislation initially created ten zones, currently there are 32 zone serving 37 municipalities.  Businesses operating in a UEZ receive corporate tax credits for hiring local employees and consumers only pay half the state’s sales tax.

            “UEZs bring businesses and jobs to areas that need a hand up, after years of benign neglect,” Kean continued.  “This will be the most fiscally challenging budget in more than half a century and the sacrifices should be shared across the board. I believe that a program that promotes economic development is an investment in New Jersey’s future and must be retained.”

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