Singleton, Conaway, DeAngelo, Benson, Muoio, Houghtaling & Zwicker Bill to Promote Cost-Cutting Small Business Improvements Approved by Assembly Panel

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Troy Singleton, Herb Conaway, Wayne DeAngelo, Daniel R. Benson, Elizabeth Muoio, Eric Houghtaling and Andrew Zwicker to facilitate cost-effective environmentally friendly improvements for small businesses recently was approved by an Assembly panel.

"Energy efficiency upgrades have the potential to save small businesses thousands of dollars each year," said Singleton (D-Burlington). "Small businesses are not churning out enormous profits. Keeping the costs of lighting, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems and other similar expenses at a minimum can make a difference to their bottom line. Helping small businesses thrive not only benefits our business community but also our overall economy."

The bill (A-2547) would permit small businesses to qualify for New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) loans to cover the costs of conducting energy audits and making energy efficiency and conservation improvements.

In consultation with the Department of Community Affairs and the Board of Public Utilities, the NJEDA would be permitted to establish and administer low-interest loans to small businesses for 100 percent of any unreimbursed costs of an energy audit conducted by a licensed contractor and for 100 percent of any unreimbursed costs of the purchase and installation of energy or conservation equipment deemed necessary as a result of the energy audit. 

The bill defines a "low-interest loan" as a loan for a maximum 10-year term at a maximum rate of either 3 percent or one-half of the prime interest rate reported in a financial newspaper published and circulating in New York City, whichever is greater.

"Making low-interest loans available to these small businesses can help them lower their operating costs while helping to protect the environment," added Conaway (D-Burlington). "It's a win-win."

"Energy efficiency is important for everyone, but especially small businesses where every single cent counts," said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex). "Anything that can help them save money is good for our economy."

"This program would be common sense in this day and age," said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex). "Creating jobs and making energy and conservation improvements must be priorities."

"Anything we can do help small businesses invest in job creation and a cleaner environment is a good thing," said Muoio (D-Mercer/Hunterdon). "This is the right approach at the right time to boost our economy."

"This is all about jobs," said Houghtaling (D-Monmouth). "We can invest in small businesses and energy efficiency at the same time, and that can mean nothing but good things for economies throughout the state."

"Audits that help small businesses save money on energy efficiency and conservation improvements are the right approach," said Zwicker (D-Somerset/Mercer/Hunterdon/Middlesex). "We know investing in energy efficiency can save money and create jobs, so let's get this done." 

The bill was approved on Monday by the Assembly Appropriations Committee. 

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