AP: Bill would bar incentives for those who don't pay up

AP News
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Posted: Mar 24, 2015 7:21 PM

A New Jersey lawmaker plans to introduce a bill that would ban people or companies from getting state incentives if they are behind on payments to the state government.

State Sen. Nicholas Scutari's office outlined the proposal to The Associated Press.

It comes days after AP reports detailed how Roizman Development Inc. was a key player in a partnership approved for $13.4 million in state tax credits to renovate homes in Camden, even though the same company is more than $6 million delinquent on payments on a state loan for another housing project.

"Providing additional state funding to a company already behind on tax or loan payments to the state is not only poor policy, it is also financially irresponsible," Scutari, a Democrat from Linden, said in a statement. "We have to put in place safeguards to ensure that companies are not taking advantage of state incentives meant to encourage economic development in areas that are in need of rehabilitation and growth."

The legislation is being drafted now, and full details are not yet available. But Scutari said he plans to introduce it the next time the Senate has a quorum call. That's currently scheduled for May 4.

In two articles over the past week, the AP has detailed how Roizman is in a partnership that is getting millions from two state agencies to renovate 175 units of housing in that it has owned for more than 20 years.

Broadway Associates 2010's $57 million project includes mix of federal tax credits, a federal loan and a $26 million state construction loan. The project includes state tax credits that were approved last year for up to $13.4 million over 10 years. With construction costs, loan repayments and a $7.6 million developer's fee, the project works out to $324,000 per home that is being developed. That's about five times the typical value of a home in Camden.

Those tax credits are coming from a program created by a 2013 business incentive law that was passed by the Democrat-controlled Legislature and signed by Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican who is considering running for president in 2016. The bill has provisions that give businesses extra assistance for projects in Camden, one of the most impoverished cities in the country.

State officials say they are trying to work out a settlement with Roizman on delinquent loan payments for a second housing project that the company has had in Camden for decades.