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Latest News from the Government & Public Affairs Practice Group

August 25, 2022
Client Alert

One-on-One with Former Stradley Ronon Attorney and Democratic Candidate for Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro
The Emerge Tax Incentive Program by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority
William Sasso and John Saler Named Among Pennsylvania’s Most Influential

One-on-One with Former Stradley Ronon Attorney and Democratic Candidate for Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro

Josh Shapiro

Q: Since being elected in 2016 as Attorney General, now serving your second term, and currently running unopposed on the Democratic ticket for Governor, you have been busy since we last spoke in January 2017. Tell us about your top accomplishments and record as Attorney General.

As Attorney General, I’ve taken on the big fights and delivered real results for Pennsylvanians in all 67 counties. I’ve had workers’ backs and took on the Commonwealth’s largest construction company in court when they stole from Pennsylvania workers. I’ve held the drug companies accountable for their role in the opioid crisis and protected access to health care for nearly 2 million people in Western Pennsylvania. And I’ve returned over $328 million in relief for everyday consumers, seniors, small businesses and students. 

I am proud of the work I’ve done to protect Pennsylvanians, and if my record says anything, it’s this: I'll be a Governor that Pennsylvanians can count on to get things done and have their backs. 

Q: Pennsylvania, similar to other states across the country, faces unprecedented challenges impacting the next generation of voters, from climate change and environmental issues to voting rights and social justice to restrictions on healthcare to rising student debt. What is your vision for Pennsylvania? What policies are you campaigning on? 

As Governor, my top priorities are creating opportunities for Pennsylvania children by improving our education system, building a stronger economy by creating jobs, cutting taxes and lowering costs and making our communities safer all across the Commonwealth. In order to move Pennsylvania forward and build a better future for our children, we must work together to achieve these key priorities. A strong economy, good schools and safe communities are the pillars of my vision for Pennsylvania – and making this our reality will guide everything I do as Governor. I’ll also make sure that our children can continue to call Pennsylvania home by defending their reproductive rights, protecting their right to clean air and pure water and ensuring their voice is heard in our democracy. 

I believe there is far more that unites us than divides us – and when it comes to protecting our communities and building a Commonwealth that is the best place for businesses and families to thrive, I’ll work with anybody to get it done. 

Q: All eyes were on Pennsylvania during the 2020 Presidential election, and the primary season won’t be any different. The Keystone State is known to be a swing state and is a winnable state for either party in any election. Why is this year different for voters? What’s at stake?

Pennsylvanians are facing some serious challenges right now, and people are worried. I hear it across the Commonwealth – families are being crushed under a mountain of rising prices, our infrastructure is crumbling, and we’re all worried about the relentless and unprecedented attacks on voting rights, workers’ rights and the right to choose. 

Pennsylvanians deserve a leader who will focus on these challenges and will fight for good, stable jobs and a strong economy, improve our schools, make our communities safer and protect the fundamental freedoms of every Pennsylvanian. My opponent isn’t focused on any of these things – instead, he’s pledged to criminalize and ban abortion without exception, throw out Pennsylvanians’ votes if he doesn’t like the winner and destroy the union way of life for hard-working Pennsylvania families. It’s clear that the stakes have never been higher.

Q: What learnings, if any, from your time at Stradley Ronon were carried over in your political career?

I grew up in Pennsylvania, watching my parents serve their community – my father working as a pediatrician and my mother as an educator. I witnessed first-hand how they cared for our neighbors and friends, and I recognized at a young age the importance of standing up for others and knew that was how I wanted to spend my career.

That’s why I became an attorney and decided to join the team at Stradley Ronon, because I knew I wanted to give back and that the firm could allow me to serve my community. Throughout my time at Stradley Ronon, I witnessed how the firm stood up for people and stayed true to its tradition of “Doing More … In The Community.” Stradley Ronon not only prepared but encouraged every one of its employees to give back, and it’s those kinds of experiences that have guided me throughout my career as a public servant and now as Pennsylvania’s Attorney General. 

Rapid Fire

  • Fill in the blank: Pennsylvania needs a Governor who they can count on and who has a track record of getting things done.
  • What is one thing you’re deeply grateful for right now?
    I am always grateful for my wife Lori and our four children. They ground and keep me centered in this work.
  • Give us a snapshot of an ordinary moment that brings you great joy.
    No matter where I start my day, I always make it home Friday night for Sabbath dinner to spend time with my family. Having dinner with Lori and our four kids, reflecting on the week and spending time together keeps me grounded and motivates me to work as hard as I can. 
  • A quote that you live by: A quote I live by comes from my faith. Scripture tells us that “no one is required to complete the task — but neither are we free to refrain from it.” To me, that means it’s on all of us to get off the sidelines, get in the game and do our part. That’s what I try to do every day.
  • Advice to Pennsylvania residents who are interested in becoming more active in politics? 
    Right now, everything is on the line – voting rights, reproductive rights and our Commonwealth’s future. If we're going to truly meet this moment and address the challenges facing Pennsylvanians every day – then it’s on all of us to be a part of the conversation. We must all come together to build a future where all of you have the opportunity to succeed and can continue to call this Commonwealth your home. Don’t be afraid to take on the big fights, and never doubt your own ability to bring change – we need you now more than ever.
  • What’s a great but lesser known (place/person/thing) about Pennsylvania?
    Old Forge Pizza from Lackawanna County.

The Emerge Tax Incentive Program by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority

By Catherine Ward

The Emerge Tax Incentive Program was created under the New Jersey Economic Recovery Act and is administered by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority to encourage private capital investment in New Jersey through the creation of new jobs or the retention of existing jobs.

Tax credits awarded to a project are calculated on an annual ‘per job’ basis, with base credits ranging from $500 to $8,000 per job, depending on project location and other project aspects. Bonus tax credits are available as well, from $500 to $5,000 per job, if each job pays more than $15.00/hr. and meets additional criteria.

In order to be eligible for the program, a proposed project must create at least 35 new full-time jobs (unless that project is a small or a targeted business such as advanced transportation and logistics, life sciences or other similar industries, then it must be at least 25 new full-time jobs). The project facility (the Qualified Business Facility) must be located in an eligible incentive location such as a Qualified Incentive Tract, Government-Restricted Municipality, Enhanced Area, Distressed Municipalities or an Opportunity Zone or Investment Corridor (all of which are defined at In Qualified Incentive Tracts, Government-Restricted Municipalities or Enhanced Areas, the project must retain a minimum of 500 jobs. All other locations must retain 1,000 jobs or more. Government-Restricted Municipalities are Atlantic City, Paterson and Trenton. Enhanced Areas include Camden, East Orange and Jersey City, while Distressed Municipalities include Asbury Park and Mount Holly.

Just as with the former Grow NJ program that the Emerge program replaced, projects must also meet minimum capital investment requirements. For example, for new office space construction, the minimum capital investment must be at least $120 per square foot of gross leasable area, at least $40 per square foot for office rehabilitation projects, $60 per square foot for industrial and warehouse construction and $20 per square foot for industrial and warehouse rehabilitation projects.

Further, to qualify for Emerge tax credits, each project must also yield a minimum net positive economic benefit which differs depending on where the project is located: 200% of the project for Government-Related Municipalities, 300% for Distressed or Enhanced Areas and 400% for all other eligible locations. The program also requires that the project ensures that at least 80% of the employees’ work time is spent in New Jersey, and 80% of withholdings from the wages of the new or retained full-time jobs are subjected to the New Jersey Gross Income Tax Act. Emerge program applicants must ensure that the Qualified Business Facility can accommodate at least 50% of the incented jobs, commit to stay at that facility for 1.5 times the tax credit eligibility period and demonstrate that the award of the tax credits is a material factor in the decision to create or retain the jobs.

The determination of whether to seek Emerge program tax credits for a project should be made early, not just to identify whether a project will qualify but to avoid being disqualified from applying. Potential applicants cannot, for example, have entered into a letter of intent to buy or lease, or have purchased, real estate for a project, or publicly announced plans to expand or move to New Jersey, or remediate contamination at potential project sites before an Emerge application is approved by the Economic Development Authority Board, as any of the foregoing will disqualify a potential applicant from being awarded tax credits. Those projects that are able to qualify, however, can reap significant rewards.

William Sasso and John Saler Named Among Pennsylvania’s Most Influential

Stradley Ronon is pleased to announce that Chairman Emeritus William R. Sasso and Lobbyist John R. Saler were ranked by City and State PA on the 2022 Pennsylvania Power 100. The list honors a diverse array of leaders in the Commonwealth, recognizing the most influential people in the public and private sectors statewide.

Bill served as Chairman of Stradley Ronon’s management committee and board of directors for 27 years. His transition to Chairman Emeritus took place as a result of his desire to spend more time with his clients and in his political and community activities. He counsels privately and publicly held companies and religious and nonprofit organizations in various matters, including general corporate and securities law, mergers and acquisitions, health care, education, medical devices, tax and real estate.

John, chair of the firm’s government & public affairs practice, provides government and media relations services to Fortune 500 companies, privately held firms and nonprofit organizations. His work for clients includes legislative lobbying, regulatory lobbying, business development and crisis management. His clients span numerous industries, including telecommunications, financial services, utilities, pharmaceuticals, health care, insurance, real estate, construction, publishing, gaming and information technology. He is a registered lobbyist in Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. His wide array of credentials in the fields of politics, media, finance and civic affairs, along with his distinguished career as a campaign strategist, fundraiser and political commentator, render him a unique asset to the firm’s clients.

Information contained in this publication should not be construed as legal advice or opinion or as a substitute for the advice of counsel. The articles by these authors may have first appeared in other publications. The content provided is for educational and informational purposes for the use of clients and others who may be interested in the subject matter. We recommend that readers seek specific advice from counsel about particular matters of interest.

Copyright © 2022 Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young, LLP. All rights reserved.

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