Thursday, 14 October 2010
TRENTON WATCH from the NJ State Chamber of Commerce
October 13, 2010 - Tracking Legislation and Other Items Important to the NJ Business Community
Senior Vice President Michael Egenton testified before the Assembly Special Committee on Economic Development regarding job creation and issues critical to the business community. He suggested steps that could be taken by the State Legislature and Administration to stimulate the economy and improve the state’s business climate. Egenton recommended that the panel continue work on regulatory reform, pension and benefits reform and the municipal “tool kit” to lower property taxes. He emphasized the importance of the state’s business incentive programs to the employer community and the importance of reforming both the unemployment insurance fund and the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) with regard to the 2.5% development fee.
Education Cost Savings – A-1637 (Wagner/D-38; Rudder/R-8; Voss/D-38; Addiego/R-8): Assembly passed 75-0. This bill permits the board of education of any school district to enter into a contract for the sale of advertising space on the outside of school buses owned or leased by the school district. The bill requires that 50 percent of revenues generated by the sale must be used to offset the fuel costs of providing transportation services to students, and the remaining 50 percent is to be used to support educational programs and services. Advertisements for tobacco, alcohol or political advocacy would be prohibited, in addition to any other advertisements that the Commissioner of Education considers inappropriate. Contact: Michael Egenton
Renewable Energy Incentives – S-793 (Madden/D-4): Passed in Senate 34-0. This bill would require that any government contract or contract using government funds for the purchase of solar panels, wind turbines or other solar or wind energy devices be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder whose principal place of business is in New Jersey, or who uses a majority of parts manufactured or produced in the state for the assembly of a final product. This bill is designed to support green businesses and jobs in the state. Contact: Michael Egenton
Unfunded Mandates – S-2208 (Sarlo/D-36; Allen/R-7; Scalera/D-36; Burzichelli/D-3; McKeon; D/27; Rumana/R-40; Webber/R-26): Passed in Assembly 75-0. This bill would allow the New Jersey Conference of Mayors, the New Jersey State League of Municipalities, the New Jersey School Boards Association, the New Jersey Association of Counties, the New Jersey Council of County Colleges, the Garden State Coalition of Schools, or the New Jersey Association of Fire Districts to file a complaint with the Council on Local Mandates concerning a potential unfunded mandate. The bill also would allow local fire districts to file complaints. This bill is part of Governor Christie’s "tool kit" to assist local governments in holding down costs, which will ultimately result in lower property taxes. Contact: Michael Egenton
S-1998/S-2067 (Ruiz/D-29; Kean T./R-21): Passed in Senate 35-0. This bill authorizes two or more state colleges or universities to form a state college risk management group and to participate in joint liability funds, risk management programs, and related services provided by the group. Contact: Michael Egenton
S-2100 (Sweeney/D-3; Ruiz/D-29): Passed in Senate 37-0. This bill would prohibit new employees of the New Jersey State League of Municipalities, the New Jersey Association of Counties, the New Jersey School Boards Association, school board insurance groups, county college joint insurance groups and county or municipal joint insurance funds from enrolling in the state-administered retirement system or state health care benefits plan. Contact: Michael Egenton
S-2209 (Sweeney/D-3): Passed in Senate 22-15. This bill eliminates the down payment requirement for counties and municipalities to issue bonds. Under current law, most bond ordinances require an appropriation of at least 5% of the amount of the authorized obligation for final adoption of the bond ordinance. While this appropriation is excluded from the property tax cap, this bill is intended to allow scarce funds to be used for other purposes of the county or municipality. Contact: Michael Egenton
S-2220 (Sarlo/D-36): Passed in Senate 34-0. This bill limits compensation for retiured employees of boards of education and local governments for accumulated unused sick leave to $15,000, and limits the carry-forward of vacation leave to one year. These changes, coupled with other public employee benefit reforms, will save significant taxpayer dollars. Contact: Michael Egenton
Regulatory Relief for Small Business – A-2129 (Chivukula/D-17; McHose/R-24; Burzichelli/D-3): Passed in Assembly 75-0. This bill updates the New Jersey Regulatory Flexibility Act by requiring an agency to conduct a review of rules that are up for re-adoption, ensuring that they have minimal impact on small businesses. The bill also revises the definition of a small business from a business that employs fewer than 100 full-time employees to one which, along with its affiliates, employs fewer than 100 full-time employees or has gross annual sales of less than $6 million. Contact: Michael Egenton
Streamlining Tax Collection - S-2289 (Oroho/R-24; O’Toole/R-40; DeCroce/R-26): Passed in Senate 37-0, passed in Assembly 75-0, signed by the Governor on October 1. This bill makes technical corrections to the Motor Fuel Tax Act, which changes the point of collection of New Jersey’s motor fuel taxes, and defers implementation of the new taxation system for three months to allow time for necessary re-licensing and other administrative issues. Contact: Mary Ellen Peppard
Call the State Chamber Government Relations Department at (609) 989-7888 with questions or comments.