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2013-06-07 NJ Chamber Roundtable BreakfastMark Duffy (left), executive director of the Assembly Republican Office and Bill Caruso, executive director of the Assembly Democratic Office, addressed N.J. Chamber members. For more event photos, click here.Many of the tax incentive programs offered by the state to stimulate job creation will be merged into a single program thanks to a bill that will likely soon be passed by the Legislature and sent to the governor for his signature, said Bill Caruso, executive director of the Assembly Democratic Office and Mark Duffy, executive director of the Assembly Republican Office.

The Economic Opportunity Act of 2013 also expands the number of companies eligible for these tax breaks and will be the most important legislation passed between now and the lame duck session, Caruso and Duffy said this morning during a roundtable breakfast in Monroe presented by the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce.

"It will have a major role in turning this economy around and creating jobs," Caruso said.

Added Duffy, "Job creation is the number one priority and this is the most important legislation that will go before the Legislature.

The New Jersey Chamber of Commerce has thrown its support behind the bill (A-3680), which has already passed the Assembly by a vote of 53 to 6, and is currently under consideration by the Senate. "We are hopeful the Senate will get it done by the end of the month," said Michael Egenton, senior vice president of government relations at the New Jersey Chamber.

The legislation merges five of the state's economic incentive programs into the Grow New Jersey Assistance Program and the Economic Redevelopment and Growth Grant Program. It would make the incentives available to a wider array of companies that are expanding or moving into the state, including smaller firms. "It would make New Jersey a formidable competitor in both the national and global economy," Egenton said.

"We want to give as many tools to the administration and the EDA (the New Jersey Economic Development Authority) as possible," Caruso said, "so that when they get to the end of negotiations with companies that want to expand or relocate here, they will have the tools to close the deal."

Caruso and Duffy were cautious in discussing passage of the state budget, which is constitutionally required to be adopted by the governor and Legislature by the end of June. Caruso said negotiations with the administration have not yet begun but he anticipated the Legislature will pass a budget before the July 1 deadline.

For photos from the event, click here.