Lakewood Could Get Really Hurt Under Gov. Christie’s Budget


lakewoodLakewood’s ambitious small-business loansĀ program could be over before it begins if Gov. Chris Christie’s proposal to withhold sales tax revenue from local Urban Enterprise Zones is implemented.

It is just one of several economic development projects in the pipeline that would stall if none of the local UEZ funds in the state reserve are returned in 2011 – an idea put forth as part of Christie’s plan to cut costs.

The Lakewood Development Corp., which oversees the town’s UEZ, stands to lose up to $7 million come next fiscal year, Executive Director Patricia Komsa said Tuesday.

“It seems to be the absolute worst place to cut,” said Rabbi Moshe Zev Weisberg, the corporation secretary treasurer and former president.

Lakewood and Asbury Park-Long Branch have UEZs, among 32 in the state. Their commercial districts in the designated zones are allowed to charge half the standard 7 percent sales tax, and the tax revenue is usually returned to the municipalities as economic
stimulus funds.

But Christie announced the state would stop sharing revenues from the state’s UEZs and said he will ask the state’s Economic Development Authority to investigate the effectiveness of the UEZ program.

Christie’s proposal would not be the first time the state has held onto Lakewood’s UEZ tax revenue. A year ago, it withheld just over $1 million from Lakewood, eventually returning about half, Komsa said.

Yet, if approved, the governor’s plan would be much more severe for Lakewood. Among the initiatives at risk of stalling is a program introduced in December that offers small or start-up businesses larger loans at reduced rates, and includes a job creation grant. It is still waiting for state approval.

“We do realize that each program has to do their part” in controling the state’s deficit, Komsa said.

Businesses in the UEZs in the state would still be able to charge the 3.5 percent sales tax, providing the zones with some competitive economic edge.

{Zach Patberg-APP/Noam Newscenter}


  1. What do you expect people who full heartily endorsed Corzine to say. If you have not noticed, Christie is trying to dig NJ out of a very deep hole. Just because these programs have merits they are not a legitimate reason to steal money! These programs were not ligit from the get-go.

    This is basic logic!!

  2. No problem! we will pay. I promise you, a few million dollars of UEZ money that the “Askonim” are crying over, means alot less for me then a Toeiva bill, and a liberal spender that will tax us into oblivion. Go ahead and complain. I don’t regret voting Christie.

  3. No one wants the cuts to affect them, but Gov. Christie has to cut somewhere, and really needs to cut just about everywhere. There will be short term pain, but hopefully the long-term economic gains from these necessary budget cuts will benefit everyone, including Lakewood.

  4. I voted for Christie because I KNEW he would cut programs.I don’t want my chidren to have my nisoyin of ‘not being able to afford to work’.That said if the programs are cut they have to do it over a year or two period to allow people the chance to wean themself off them.