The New Jersey Business & Industry’s (NJBIA) efforts to promote collaboration between businesses and higher education received a boost today when Gov. Chris Christie signed legislation expanding eligibility for businesses under the Grow NJ program.

Sponsored by Senator Sandra Cunningham (D-31), and Assembly members Gary Schaer (D-36) and Pamela Lampitt (D-6), the new law provides base and job-creation tax credits for a business partnering with a higher education institution located within three miles of each other. It also creates new bonus tax credits to be distributed according to guidelines developed by the NJ Economic Development Authority. The tax credits would come from the Grow New Jersey Assistance Program.

“Creating incentive areas around colleges and universities that recognize a variety of relationships between businesses and higher education will attract jobs and tax-paying businesses to the university environment,” said Andrew Musick, NJBIA’s vice president for Taxation and Economic Development.

“This will help create technology clusters to spur economic growth, innovation and discoveries,” he said. “The higher education institutions will also benefit from having access to private sector companies that will provide both educational and employment opportunities to students and graduates.”

NJBIA has advocated for such collaboration as a necessity if New Jersey is to reclaim its place among the top states for innovation. The association is a founding member of Innovation NJ and has proposed a comprehensive report on rebuilding the state’s innovation ecosystem.

“Many of the nation’s most dynamic regional economies are situated around public research universities and other public and private colleges,” Musick said. “It is the creative atmosphere of the college or university campus — the faculty, the students and the other companies located in the area — which together boosts economic growth.”

 

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