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June 23, 2010 - Tracking Legislation and Other Items Important to the NJ Business Community

Assembly Fails to Override Gov. Christie's Veto of Income Tax Increase that Would Impact Businesses - S-10 (Sweeney/D-3) and A-10 (Oliver/D-34; Cryan/D-20): The Senate passed S-10 by a vote of 23-17. The Assembly passed A-10 by a vote of 46-32. The Governor vetoed. The Chamber has aggressively lobbied against the bill. It called for increasing the income tax rate for one year from 8.97 percent to 10.75 percent on taxpayers with income greater than $1 million. Many small businesses, such as S-Corporations, LLC's, Partnerships or Sole Proprietorships, pay taxes through their owner's income, so such an income tax increase is also a business tax increase. This tax hike would discourage these business owners from creating and retaining jobs or expanding their investments in New Jersey. Employers who will be paying this higher income tax will also be paying higher federal taxes and state unemployment insurance taxes this year. Contact: Mary Ellen Peppard


Assembly Appropriations Committee Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority Act - A-597 (Cryan/D-20; Coutinho/D-29; Fuentes/D-5; Quijano/D-20; O'Scanlon/R-12) & S-917 (Lesniak/D-20; Beck/R-12): Committee passed. Establishes the Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority as the successor to the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Planning Authority, which was federally designated to develop a comprehensive revitalization plan for the Fort Monmouth area. This new authority will implement a coordinated conversion and redevelopment plan for the Fort Monmouth area that will benefit the municipalities that encompass the area as well as the state. Contact: Mary Ellen Peppard

Repealing Burdensome Urban Enterprise Zone Requirements - A-1559 (Lampitt/D-6; Coutinho/D-29): Assembly passed 69-10, referred to the Senate Economic Growth Committee. Allows businesses exclusively located in Urban Enterprise Zones (UEZ's) to receive sales tax exemptions on business purchases at the point of sale. Current law requires UEZ businesses with gross receipts exceeding $10 million to pay the sales tax and then apply for a rebate, rather than exempting the sale from tax at the point of sale. Since the rebate program was implemented, hundreds of businesses have dropped out of the UEZ program, citing the significant administrative burdens and high costs of complying with this mandate. Exempting UEZ only businesses from the rebate requirement is a significant step toward reforming the onerous rebate requirement. Contact: Mary Ellen Peppard


Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee New Commission on Government Efficiency and Cost Control - S-339 (Oroho/R-24; Sweeney/D-3): Committee passed and Senate passed 38-0. Establishes the New Jersey Commission on Government Efficiency and Cost Control to recommend measures for efficiency and cost reduction in state government operations. The commission of 21 voting members would establish several task forces to evaluate the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the operations of a specific state government department. The commission would issue an interim report within 12 months following initial appointment of its members, and a final report within 24 months of enactment of its enabling legislation. Contact: Michael Egenton

Government Transparency - S-708 (Pennacchio/R-26; Codey/D-27): Senate passed 29-3. Provides for the establishment of a state public finance website that contains information on the State's annual revenues, expenditures, and total bonded indebtedness; and requires any county, municipality, state or local authority, school board or other entity that receives direct grants or funds from the State to present a detailed plan to the State Treasurer for the establishment of a similar website. This bill also establishes a Public Finance Transparency Committee to advise and coordinate with the Treasurer and Chief Technology Officer to improve and expand upon the scope, content, and format of the public finance website. Contact: Michael Egenton


Unemployment Insurance - A-2864 (Greenstein/D-14; DeAngelo/D-14) & S-1968 (Buono/D-18; Madden/D-4): Assembly passed 70-9. Revises certain unemployment benefit claim procedures and requires the registration of authorized agents with the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development. These changes would result in an increased cost to both businesses and the State for administration of the UI system, which is already in financial trouble. Ultimately, these costs will be passed on to businesses, which already face an undue burden caused by mismanagement of the UI fund. Contact: Michael Egenton


Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee Alternative Energy - A-2529 (Chivukula/D-17; Quijano/D-20): Committee passed. Clarifies and expands certain definitions pertaining to alternative energy technologies. These changes are intended to be consistent with New Jersey's Energy Master Plan and to enable the State to promote renewable energy technologies to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The bill was amended on the Assembly floor to require the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to review the amount of Class I alternative energy required to be purchased by providers and suppliers in each energy year beginning in 2014. The amendments also direct the BPU to initiate a proceeding to evaluate energy efficiency portfolio standardsContact: Michael Egenton

Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee A-2529 Vote: Chivukula, Upendra (Chair) - Yes; DeAngelo, Wayne (Vice Chair) - Yes; Bucco, Anthony - Abstain; Egan, Joseph - Yes; Mainor, Charles - Yes; Quijano, Annettee - Yes; Rible, David - Abstain


Assembly Appropriations Committee Lawsuit Reform - A-2473 Schaer (D-36; McKeon/D-27): Committee passed. Limits the amount of the appeal bond in civil actions to the total value of the monetary judgment or $50 million, whichever is less. The bill also clarifies that it does not eliminate the discretion of the court, after notice and hearing and for good cause shown, to reduce the appeal bond to a lower amount. This bill protects New Jersey's businesses from lawsuit abuse and undue financial hardship. Contact: Michael Egenton

Assembly Appropriations Committee A-2473 Vote: Pou, Nellie (Chair) -Yes; Ramos, Ruben (Vice Chair) - Yes; Addiego, Dawn Marie - Yes; Barnes, Peter - Yes; Chivukula, Upendra - Yes; Conaway, Herb - Yes; DiMaio, John - Yes; Greenwald, Louis - Yes; McKeon, John - Yes; Peterson, Erik- Yes; Stender, Linda - Yes; Thompson, Samuel - Yes


Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee Regulatory Reform - A-2720 (Burzichelli/D-3; Rumana/R-40; Caputo/D-28; Quijano/D-20; Greenstein/D-14); A-2721 (Burzichelli/D-3; Rumana/R-40; Caputo/D-28; Quijano/D-20; Greenstein/D-14); A-2722 (Burzichelli/D-3; Rumana/R-40; Caputo/D-28; Quijano/D-20); A-2922 (Burzichelli/D-3): Committee passed. This package of reform bills streamlines burdensome regulations, which will improve our state's business climate. These bills establish new procedures in the Administrative Procedure Act to allow substantial changes to agency rule-making upon adoption; amend current law concerning state agency rule-making by changing the chapter expiration dates of rules from five years to 10; modify the process for contested case hearings by the Office of Administrative Law with regard to telephone and video conferences, delegation of final decision authority, oral decisions, checklist decisions, electronic filings and settlements; and establish a new procedure for resolving conflicts or inconsistencies in adopted rules and regulations. Contact: Michael Egenton

Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee A-2720; A-2721; A-2722; A-2922 Vote: Burzichelli, John (Chair) - Yes; Quijano, Annette (Vice Chair) - Yes; Caputo, Ralph - Yes; Casagrande, Caroline - Yes; Polistina, Vincent - Yes

New Jersey Chamber of Commerce 216 West State Street Trenton, NJ 08608 (609) 989-7888 www.njchamber.com

Please contact Mary Ellen Peppard at (609) 989-7888 with any questions.