Video: Local Senator Fights to Help Local Businesses Expand

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BUENA VISTA TOWNSHIP, N.J. – Protecting jobs in Atlantic County is the focus of legislation sponsored by State Senator Jim Whelan, and has taken one step closer to becoming law.
The proposed bill would help manufacturing company Comar LLC. in Atlantic County expand its business, create more jobs, and stay at its historical location in Buena Vista Township, all while continuing to protect the pinelands.
“[Thes are] not great economic times for Atlantic County, and with the [Taj Mahal] closing, and jobs that are hard to find here, keeping these jobs is just as important as getting more jobs into the area,” said Buena Vista Township Mayor Chuck Chiarello.
Comar is one of the biggest manufacturing facilities in Atlantic County. They’re responsible for many of the plastic bottles, caps, and other packaging materials seen in drug stores every day. In order to not only maintain jobs, but to create more, Sen. Whelan came up with legislation to help keep big businesses like Comar in Atlantic County.
“The choice is, do we lose Comar and they go somewhere else, and we lose jobs, or do we allow them to expand and we create jobs,” said Sen. Whelan.
With those goals in mind, the Senator came up with a bill that states any existing rural development area that’s already zoned “industrial” can be eligible for benefits under the Economic Development Opportunities Act. What that means is if a business in the Pinelands wants to expand on land they already own without damaging the environment, they can apply for tax breaks and tax credits.
“We want to protect the environment, but we also need to make sure there’s economic development,” said Sen. Whelan.
Chiarello says Comar moved their corporate offices to Camden County, and the township was worried about losing the facility as well. Not only is it part of Buena’s history, but it’s a big help to the local economy.
“The more room they have for production, the more competitive they can be in having more products to keep them going for years to come,” said Chiarello.
And the township is doing everything they can to give Comar reasons to stay, continue to build, and open new opportunities for local residents.
“We are in dire need… not just Atlantic City, the entire county needs to have these jobs,” said Chiarello.
The Bill has already passed the Senate Appropriations and Budget Committee and is now on the Senate floor and Assembly to be approved.
“It’s a win for the business, they have an opportunity to expand. It’s a win for Buena Vista... But most importantly, it’s a win for the employees, it protects the jobs that are there and creates new jobs going forward,” said Sen. Whelan.