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Legislative Update From the NJ State Chamber of Commerce

Tracking Legislation Important to the New Jersey Business Community


Senate Economic Growth Committee and Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee Small Business Loans Program - S-4 (Sarlo/D-36) and A-3377 (Schaer/D-36; Fisher/D-3; Spencer/D-29; Conners/D-7; Watson Coleman/D-15; Pou/D-35): Committees passed. Establishes the Main Street Business Assistance Program, which appropriates $50 million to the New Jersey Economic Development Authority to provide guarantees and loans to small and mid-sized businesses and not-for-profit corporations on an expedited basis to stimulate the economy.

Senate Economic Growth Committee and Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee UEZ Sales Tax Exemptions for Small Business - S-5 (Stack/D-33): Committees passed. Expands the number of businesses that qualify for sales tax free purchases within an Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ) at the point of purchase. This allows businesses with annual gross receipts of less than $7 million (up from $3 million) to obtain a sales tax exemption at the time of purchase. Currently those businesses are required to pay sales tax and submit receipts to the state for a tax refund.


Senate Environment Committee Improving the Site Remediation Program - S-1897 (Smith/D-17): Committee only received testimony. Establishes a Licensed Site Professional (LSP) program for site remediation within the Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP). The legislation proposes to borrow aspects of a Massachusetts program to allow certified professionals to proceed through the investigation and remediation of selected sites with a minimum of NJDEP oversight. The State Chamber is working closely with a coalition of stakeholders to amend the legislation to make it better for all involved.

Senate Environment Committee Stormwater Utility Systems Tax - S-2145 (Smith/D-17): Committee held. Establishes pilot stormwater management system projects in Ocean, Atlantic and Gloucester counties. The bill further authorizes these counties to finance the creation, operation and maintenance of the stormwater utility system through the imposition of user fees. The State Chamber believes that other funding sources for these infrastructure improvements should be explored before a new tax on homeowners and businesses is considered.

Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee Water Tax - A-3215 (McKeon/D-27; Gusciora/D-15): Committee held. Establishes a Water Resource Lands Protection Fund in the state Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to pay for state acquisition, recreational development, and conservation of land that protects water resources. Revenues for the fund would come from a societal benefits charge imposed on all public water utility customers. The State Chamber believes the business community should not be tapped as a never-ending source to fund state government programs and initiatives, particularly during difficult economic times.


Senate State Government Committee Moving Nonpartisan Elections - S-1099/A-351 (Buono/D-18; Diegnan/D-18; Barnes/D-18): Committee held. Currently, regular municipal elections, which are nonpartisan, are held on the second Tuesday in May. This allows any municipality that holds regular municipal elections to choose, by ordinance, to hold regular municipal elections on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

Assembly State Government Committee Restitution of Stolen Public Funds - A-289 (Rumpf/R-9; Van Pelt/R-9): Committee passed. Allows government entities to garnish the pension benefits of a convicted public official if the conviction is the result of a crime involving that office or employment.


Assembly Labor Committee Mandating the Healthy Workplace Act - A-1551 (Greenstein/D-14; Oliver/D-34): Committee held. Attempts to strengthen existing laws associated with bullying and retaliation in the workplace. The Chamber opposes this legislation because of the increase in litigation that will result.

Assembly Labor Committee Requiring State Contractors to Provide Employment Information - A-2359 (Greenstein/D-14; Evans/D-35): Committee passed. Directs the state and its political subdivisions to monitor and report on their contracts for the acquisition of goods and services, with special attention to the number of workers employed in producing the goods and services and how many of them are employed in other states and outside of the United States. The bill also requires each state contractor to provide specific information about each contract to the director of the Division of Purchase and Property in the state Department of the Treasury. The Chamber opposes this bill because of the increased paperwork it will require for contractors.


Assembly Judiciary Committee Revising the Law Against Discrimination - A-2292 (Greenstein/D-14): Committee passed. Amends current law to prohibit mandatory pre-dispute arbitration agreements, treats independent contractors as employees of their client under the LAD, and restricts "English only" rules in the work place. The Chamber opposes any attempt to classify independent contractors as employees, and views this initiative as a way to significantly increase employee driven litigation.


Assembly Appropriations Committee Tax on Oil Refineries - A-2599 (Burzichelli/D-3; Fisher/D-3): Committee passed. Permits municipalities to establish a tax on any entity that engages in the bulk transfer, storage, discharge, refining, blending or packaging of crude oils or its refined products if the total assessed value of all property in a particular municipality drops by 5% or more. The State Chamber opposes the imposition of a tax on a specific industry as a way to make up for an overall drop in assessments during an economic downturn.

Extending Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit Program - A-2623 (McKeon/D-27; Jasey/D-27; Evans/D-35): Assembly passed 68-10. Extends program eligibility to areas located in municipalities contiguous to those currently qualified to participate in the Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit Program, which is designed to help revitalize areas in New Jersey's distressed cities. The program offers business entities that invest in the revitalization of low- and moderate-income neighborhoods in eligible cities a 100 percent tax credit against state taxes. This is intended to decrease disparities that exist between different neighborhoods that border municipalities eligible to participate in the program.

UEZ Sales Tax Exemptions for Small Business - A-2720 (Vas/D-19; Burzichelli/D-3; Pou/D-35): Assembly passed 72-6. Expands the number of businesses qualifying for sales tax free purchases within an Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ) at the point of purchase. This allows businesses with annual gross receipts of less than $7 million (up from $3 million) to obtain a sales tax exemption at the time of purchase. Currently those businesses are required to pay sales tax and submit receipts to the state for a tax refund.

Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee Corporate Business Tax Reform - S-3 (Codey/D-27) and A-2722 (Vas/D-19; Greenwald/D-6; Coutinho/D-29): Committee passed. Repeals two CBT provisions, the "throwout" rule and the "regular place of business" requirement. The throwout rule requires a New Jersey company, when calculating its corporate business tax liability, to include income earned in another state if that state chooses not to tax or is unable to tax the income. New Jersey is one of only two states that utilize this onerous provision. The regular place of business provision requires a multi-state corporation to maintain an office with at least one employee outside the state in order to allocate its income on the same basis as corporations with multiple business locations. New Jersey is the only state with this requirement. Our business tax policies impact the way that our state is perceived in the national and global marketplace. Reforming our business tax climate is vital to retaining and attracting businesses.

Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee and Assembly Appropriations Committee Invest In NJ Tax Benefit Program Act - S-6/S-2213 (Buono/D-18; Turner/D-15; Van Drew/D-1)) and A-3294 (Milam/D-1; Albano/D-1; Vas/D-19; Greenwald/D-6; Greenstein/D-14): Committees passed. The Assembly passed A-3294 by a vote of 55-23. Establishes a grant program within the New Jersey Economic Development Authority to provide businesses with grants of up to 7 percent of their capital investment costs and $3,000 for each new job created and retained for one year. This new incentive program is designed to stimulate capital investment and job creation.

Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee BEIP Credits - S-265 (Kyrillos/R-13; Cunningham/D-31): Committee passed. Allows employers that participate in the Business Employment Incentive Program (BEIP) to elect to take an amount of their business employment incentive payment as a credit against corporation business tax liability, whether computed as a regular corporation business tax liability or as an alternative minimum assessment. The employment incentive can be authorized for up to 10 years. The State Chamber supports allowing businesses flexibility in deciding how to best use incentive program funds.

Senate Economic Growth Committee BEIP Expansion - S-2114 (Kyrillos/R-13; Cunningham/D-31): Committee passed. Amends the Business Employment Incentive Program (BEIP) to stimulate economic development and encourage job creation in certain designated urban areas. This bill eliminates the current limits on the amount of the grant for businesses located within designated urban centers, permits BEIP recipients to count independent contractors as part of their employment totals, extends eligibility to cooperative associations, and extends the grant term for recipients that agree to an additional retention period. Expanding the BEIP encourages investment and job growth and enables New Jersey to more effectively compete with other states.

Senate Commerce Committee Improving NJ's Corporate Governance Laws - S-2244 (Gill/D-34; Sarlo/D-36); S- 2245 (Gill/D-34; Sarlo/D-36); S-2246 (Gill/D-34; Sarlo/D-36); S-2283 (Van Drew/D-1); S-2284 (Van Drew/D-1): Committee passed all five bills. These bills are designed to update New Jersey's corporate governance laws to make it easier for corporations to conduct business in our state. Many of the legislative changes proposed are modeled on Delaware General Corporation Law, such as increasing the options by which a corporation can merge, acquire or consolidate with a non-incorporated business.