Governor says his new economic plan will help rejuvenate rundown neighborhoods, give tax credits for affordable housing
A day after unveiling an ambitious economic development plan, Gov. Phil Murphy and members of his administration gave some details on several new programs that would provide tax credits to help revitalize communities and build much-needed housing.
Speaking in Atlantic City yesterday to several hundred attendees at the annual Governor’s Conference on Housing and Economic Development, Murphy stressed the importance of ensuring that actions to improve the state’s economy include building homes affordable to New Jerseyans.
“Economic development cannot be skewed to mean only that which benefits shareholders,” Murphy said. “We can have strong economic growth and safe, affordable housing options for families. We can have strong and diverse communities.”
Murphy’s remarks were part of a different tone at this year’s conference, his first as governor. Administration officials talked about a number of state programs and initiatives to help officials with economic development dilemmas. Sometimes the programs offer financial incentives and other times technical assistance. For many in the housing community, the fact that Murphy turned up at the conference to discuss his plans showed the importance he places on developing local economies.
“I know you hear from the governor every year at this event,” Murphy joked to murmurs and laughter, making a reference to former Gov. Chris Christie’s absence from prior conferences.
Murphy: ‘We must have bigger goals’
“We have a new mindset on what ‘economic development’ means,” he continued. “We’re not going to gauge our success simply by the number of new businesses we create or the amount of capital flowing into New Jersey … We must have bigger goals. A more diverse and inclusive economy, with hundreds of thousands more jobs at better wages, especially for women and minorities, and a significantly lower urban poverty rate.”
Murphy went on to discuss four of the planks of his day-old economic plan, which by 2025 seeks to create 300,000 new jobs, many in the innovative technology sector, and use a $500 million state-led venture capital fund for investments. The plan seeks to overhaul New Jersey’s major economic-development tax-incentive programs to jump-start growth in communities statewide.