Assembly panel approves bill to help UEZ businesses

HUDSON COUNTY — A measure sponsored by Assembly members Ruben J. Ramos, Jr., Matthew Milam, Annette Quijano, Angel Fuentes, Ralph Caputo and Jason O’Donnell, aimed at combating the “credit crunch,” was approved by an Assembly panel today.
The bill (A-3243) would create an incentive for lenders to provide loans to businesses within the state’s Urban Enterprise Zones (UEZ) by providing tax-free treatment on the interest earned on loans made directly to qualified UEZ businesses for five years.
“I know that businesses in Urban Enterprise Zones, especially those in my district where we have four, have been hit particularly hard by the economy,” said Ramos (D-33rd Dist). “This is a great incentive to get banks lending to businesses in economically depressed areas until the economy picks up on its own again.”
Specifically, the bill permits lenders who are subject to the corporation business tax to deduct from their entire net income the amount of net interest received on loan repayments from a qualified UEZ business that is engaged in the active conduct of trade or business within a UEZ. Additionally, the lenders would be permitted to deduct from their gross income an amount equal to the amount of net interest received the loan repayment.
In order to qualify for the tax deduction: the qualified UEZ business must be located solely within a UEZ; the loan must be solely in connection with activity within the UEZ; and the taxpayer claiming the deduction must not have any equity or other ownership interest in the debtor.
“UEZ businesses are the backbone in many of our struggling, urban communities. Access to credit is vital to their success, and their success is vital to our community,” said O’Donnell (D-31 st Dist).
The measure cleared the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee by a vote of 6-1.

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