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September 20, 2011

Jobs programs were the topic of the day in both the federal and the state governments Monday. Here in New Jersey, Democrats issued a series of bills from committee aimed at allowing physicians, teachers, and small businesses to avail themselves of low-cost or loan forgiveness programs if they agree to work or hire in the state.

A physician loan redemption program for primary care and specialty physicians who pledge to work in underserved and physician shortage areas was issued out of committee and will go before the full Senate. New Jersey is expected to have a shortage of 2,800 physicians in the next 10 years. For every year they agree to work in underserved areas, a $2 million loan fund would be used to pay off a percentage of their student loans – up to 100 percent after 10 years.

A similar loan redemption program for teachers was included in the state Senate’s jobs programs, which was also issued out of committee on Monday. This program would allow teachers to redeem 10 percent of their NJClass loan amounts for each year of service as a teacher in a New Jersey public school.

The same jobs package included legislation establishing a Small Business Loan Program that would provide two percent loans – or less – for those businesses that plan to increase employment levels by 10 percent over the next four years. The fund would be paid for through existing Economic Development Authority funds.

All bills are expected to be considered by both the Senate and Assembly in the next few weeks, in order to get the bills in front of the governor before the November elections.

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