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    NJFC’s N.J. Supermarket Incentive Package

    8-point legislative agenda aims to spur growth in state's supermarket industry

    By Linda M. Doherty

    The New Jersey Food Council has released an eight-point legislative agenda designed to incentivize growth in the New Jersey supermarket industry. The N.J. Supermarket Incentive Package looks at statutory changes in the areas of tax policy, unit pricing, energy costs and organized retail theft, as well as other regulatory reforms.

    Thanks to the work of the Christie Administration and the Legislature, we have seen unprecedented reforms designed to improve the business climate in New Jersey. This proposal aims to grow the state's food retail and distribution industry, which accounts for 9 percent of the gross state product and 17 percent of all New Jersey jobs.

    The release of the Supermarket Incentive Package also comes on the heels of a Newark Star Ledger report that more than 340,000 New Jerseyans live in so-called food deserts. These are areas where residents lack easy access to a supermarket, and instead patronize fast-food restaurants and other establishments that don't offer the quality foods of a local grocery store.

    The food desert issue is a main reason that these proposed incentives and reforms are needed. New Jersey is such a high-cost state, and with food retailers working on such low margins, retailers are choosing elsewhere to set up shop. By enacting these reforms, we can bring supermarkets into areas of New Jersey that would otherwise be underserved.

    The proposed incentive package is as follows:

    Tax Incentive Programs and Tax Reforms:

    • Assembly Bill 3816 (Coutinho/DeAngelo): Increases the amount of incremental revenues that can be applied to Economic Redevelopment and Growth Grants from 75 percent to 100 percent in the case of sales taxes paid within a project that includes a supermarket or grocery store located in a city that lacks adequate access to affordable and nutritious food
    • Assembly Bill 3196 (DeAngelo/Benson)/Senate Bill 2481 (Greenstein):  Allows corporation business tax credits as incentives for redevelopment of distressed shopping centers
    • Pending Introduction: Creates a study commission to examine the reduction of TDI payroll tax rates for employers
    •  Estate Tax Reform: numerous legislative proposals

    Reducing Supermarket Energy Costs:

    • Senate Bill 2344 (Smith/Beck)/Assembly Bill 2528 (Chivukula/Quijano): Reforms the allocation of Societal Benefit Charges and establishes a credit against the SBC

    Unit Pricing Reforms:

    • Pending Introduction: Expands unit pricing requirements and updates compliance policies

    Organized Retail Theft:

    • Pending Introduction: The Organized Retail Theft Task Force in the Attorney General’s Office is set to release their recommendations to the Christie Administration in the coming months. Highlights include the creation of a dedicated ORT prosecutor and strengthening existing ORT and shoplifting laws

    Regulatory Reforms:

    • Assembly Bill 2129 (Chivukula/McHose/Burzichelli)/Senate Bill 1336 (Sarlo/Van Drew): Expands scope of Regulatory Flexibility Act
    • Senate Bill 1904 (Beach/Lesniak/Kyrillos)/Assembly Bill 2591 (Greenwald/Riley) : Increases number of liquor licenses supermarkets can hold from two to 10
    By Linda M. Doherty
    • About Linda M. Doherty

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