The New Jersey Chamber of Commerce is tracking legislation and other items important to the business community:
Assembly passed 43-32, Senate passed 22-17, sent to Governor. This act authorizes the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Financing Agency to purchase foreclosed residential properties for affordable housing use. This legislation would help mitigate the impact of foreclosures on homeowners, communities and financial institutions.
Shared Services - S-2
(Sweeney/D-3; Kyrillos/R-13; O'Toole/R-40):
Senate passed 25-9. This bill encourages localities to share services and requires New Jersey's Local Unit Alignment, Reorganization, and Consolidation Commission (LUARCC) to study municipal governments to determine cost-savings through sharing of services. The State Chamber believes sharing services will assist in reducing the property tax burden in New Jersey.
New Jersey Nursing Initiative
State Chamber Chairman Jeff Scheininger testified before the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee regarding the status of New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Foundation's Nursing Initiative. Chairman Scheininger discussed how the initiative has helped to staff New Jersey's hospitals with talented and qualified nurses. He emphasized how the business community has long understood that a shortage of nurses and nurse faculty has serious implications for the welfare of our employees as well as the costs of running our enterprises. He added that the State Chamber is committed to the New Jersey Nursing Initiative and the forward-thinking steps it is taking to avert a health care crisis in our state.
Minimum Wage Hike - SCR-1
Senate passed 23-16. This concurrent resolution proposes a ballot question amending the Constitution to raise the minimum wage to $8.25 per hour as well as cost of living increases based on increases in the consumer price index. The State Chamber opposes this measure because a minimum wage hike will adversely affect the number of future hires in the private sector, inflate the cost of goods and services, and hamper the ability for businesses to plan ahead. Additionally, the State Constitution should not be used in a manner to determine public policy and will set a bad precedent.
Assembly passed 44-31, Senate passed 23-16, sent to Governor. This bill increases New Jersey's hourly minimum wage rate to $8.50 on March 1, 2013. Additionally, the bill requires in 2014 that the minimum wage rate be adjusted annually based on any increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), with the adjustment taking effect on January 1 of each year. A minimum wage increase of 17% would be harmful to business owners, who will ultimately have to make difficult economic decisions to meet their bottom line by either passing costs on to consumers, scaling back the hours of current employees or not hiring additional employees.
Unemployment Compensation for Misconduct - A-1874
(Diegnan/D-18; Egan/D-17; Johnson/D-37; Quijano/D-20):
Assembly passed 44-29. This bill establishes standards regarding the disqualification of claimants for unemployment compensation for misconduct. The State Chamber believes the current regulation appropriately addresses the different levels of misconduct, which have resulted in cost savings for the state.
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.