(The Center Square) – Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver signed into law a measure that restores funding for a program aimed at revitalizing New Jersey’s urban centers.
A-5580/S-3600, the Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ) Reform Bill, appropriates $42.5 million in Zone Assistance Funds (ZAF) for fiscal 2022. The program has not had a dedicated funding source since 2011.
The UEZ Program Authority was created in 1983 to revitalize urban communities and stimulate growth. The program aims to encourage businesses to use public and private investment to develop and create private-sector jobs.
“The UEZ Program helps support the local economy, particularly in our urban centers,” Oliver, who is acting as governor during Gov. Phil Murphy’s vacation, said in an announcement. Oliver will chair the UEZ Program Authority.
“I am excited to sign this legislation today restoring UEZ funding, especially as many of these cities and businesses located in the designated communities continue to recover from the pandemic,” Oliver added. “Starting today, the UEZ Program will be an essential part of the state’s economic recovery strategy.”
There are 32 zones in 37 municipalities with 7,267 UEZ-certified businesses.
The new law “will make it possible for small, medium, and large businesses within the zones to provide jobs to the community,” UEZ Executive Director Tracy Fredericks said in an announcement.