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Trenton Watch - June 27, 2014

Tracking Legislation and Other Items Important to the Business Community:

State Budget Fiscal Year 2015
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Tax on Job Creators
A-3485 (Prieto/D-32; Greenwald/D-6)

Assembly passed 48-31. Senate passed 24-16; sent to Governor. Raises the gross income tax rate on taxable income exceeding $1 million to 10.75 percent for a three-year-period. This income tax hike hits much more than high income earners -- it also affects everyone in New Jersey in a very direct way. When taxes are increased, it damages our ability to attract and retain businesses, eroding our tax base and ultimately providing employers a reason to flee our state.

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Surcharge on Corporate Business Taxes
A-3484 (Burzichelli/D-3)

Assembly passed 41-37-1. Senate passed 21-18; sent to Governor. Imposes a one-year 15 percent surcharge on the Corporation Business Tax (CBT), raising the rate from 9 percent to 10.35 percent. Tax hikes damage the state's efforts to retain and recruit companies, making it more challenging to foster economic growth and enhance job creation.

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Economic Development
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Economic Opportunity Act of 2014, Part 3
A-3213 (Greenwald/D-6; Sumter/D-35)

Assembly passed 58-15-6; Senate passed 35-3. Assembly concurred with Senate amendments 55-18-6; sent to Governor. Makes several technical changes that clarifies provisions in the "New Jersey Economic Opportunity Act of 2013." A key change includes extending the date by which a developer seeking tax credits under the Economic Redevelopment and Growth Grant Program (ERG) must submit a temporary certificate of occupancy for the project. The date was extended from July 28, 2015 to July 28, 2018.

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Incentives Claw-back
A-1808 (Wilson/D-5; Oliver/D-34; Coughlin/D-19; Caride/D-36; Wimberly/D-35; Quijano/D-20)

Assembly passed 72-5-2. Requires corporations qualifying for certain State development subsidy grants to repay the entire grant amount if a corporation fails to uphold the terms of the grant. This legislation sends the wrong message to potential companies that are looking to expand or locate their business operations to New Jersey.

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Environment
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Open Space Constitutional Amendment
SCR-84 (Smith/D-17; Bateman/R-16)

Senate passed 36-1. Dedicates 6 percent of the Corporation Business Tax revenues annually for the next 30 years (from Fiscal Year 2016 through Fiscal Year 2045) to finance the State's open space, farmland and historic preservation programs. The State Chamber opposes shifting funds from various DEP-related programs and encourages the Legislature to review ways to reduce our Corporation Business Tax to make our state more competitive.

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Ban on Fracking
S-1041 (Gordon/D-38; Bateman/R-16; Gusciora/D-15; Vainieri Huttle/D-37; Caride/D-36; Garcia/D-33; Watson/D-15)

Assembly passed 62-16-1; sent to Governor. Prohibits the treatment, discharge, disposal or storage of any wastewater, wastewater solids, sludge, drill cuttings or other byproducts resulting from hydraulic fracturing for the purpose of natural gas exploration or production in any state. This bill sets a bad precedent by limiting opportunities for those in the field of energy production, and economically isolates our state by placing an embargo on out-of-state commerce, which directly violates the dormant Commerce Clause.

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Government Reform
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Permit Review Process
S-1813 (Whelan/D-2; Oroho/R-24)

Senate passed 39-0. Requires state agencies to conduct periodic reviews of permits, licenses and certifications they issue in order to identify those that are obsolete or that can be administered through a more expedited procedure. The committee amended the bill to establish an additional requirement that each state agency include a comprehensive written report highlighting action taken by the agency to reduce the number of permits that are backlogged. This legislation will promote efficiency in state government and help expedite permits.

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Insurance
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Terrorism Risk Insurance Program
SR-64 (Gill/D-34; Kean/R-21)

Senate passed by voice vote. Urges Congress to reauthorize the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program in order to maintain stability in the insurance and reinsurance markets. In the post-9/11 landscape, businesses and residents need assurance that their assets are protected and can be replaced in the aftermath of a terrorist attack or incident. This federal program provides needed assistance to insurers in high risk areas.

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Labor
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"Ban the Box"
A-1999 (Watson Coleman/D-15; Cunningham/D-31; Green/D-22; Spencer/D-29; Wimberly/D-35; Sumter/D-35)

Assembly passed 41-35-1; Senate passed 32-1. Assembly concurred with Senate amendment 49-24; sent to Governor. Prohibits an employer in the initial job application process from asking job candidates about criminal history. The State Chamber recognizes and appreciates the stakeholder process initiated by Senator Cunningham and her efforts to work closely with the business community during the last two years in addressing our concerns. The State Chamber, however, remains opposed to this measure based on principle and the intervention on business operations and the hiring process.

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Thumbs up and down indicates the Chamber's support or opposition to issues. Call the New Jersey Chamber Government Relations Department at (609) 989-7888 with questions or comments.