Tracking Legislation and Other Items Important to the Business Community:
Department of Transportation/NJ Transit
On April 3 the Department of Transportation and New Jersey Transit presented their FY 2014 budgets to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.
The base state appropriation for NJDOT Maintenance and Operations is $37.6 million. The budget recommends $1.16 billion to the Transportation Trust Fund for debt payments.
Funding for notable projects include $215 million for Route 35 storm recovery project in Ocean County to be completed by summer 2015 and funding installments for the $1.2 billion Pulaski Skyway project.
The overall NJ Transit operations budget for FY 2014 is $1.94 billion, a $37 million increase over FY 2013. In the 2012 calendar year, NJ Transit trains had a record-high on-time rate of 96.4 percent. Additionally, for the third year in a row, NJ Transit will not be increasing fares. The NJ Transportation Capital Plan for FY 2014 is $4 billion. Notable improvements include working with Amtrak to improve the Northeast Corridor, a new station and loop project planned for North Brunswick and developing a regional fare card in partnership with the MTA and Port Authority in time for the Super Bowl.
Revenue Report: Office of Legislative Services/State Treasurer
On April 4, Dr. David Rosen of the Office of Legislative Service (OLS) testified regarding the Governor's proposed FY 2014 budget and the state's revenue outlook. OLS expects revenue to grow by 7.2 percent in the remaining three months of the current fiscal year and predicts a 4.8 percent revenue increase in the upcoming budget year. With those revenue figures in mind, Dr. Rosen predicted the Governor will have a $637 million shortfall to overcome by the end of the current fiscal year.
State Treasurer Andrew Eristoff is projecting total revenue for Fiscal Year 2014 at $32.8 billion, an increase of $1.5 billion, or 4.9 percent above Treasury's revised estimate for Fiscal Year 2013. Additionally, the State Treasurer stated that the rate of growth for the Gross Income Tax is 6.5 percent, while the projected rates of growth for the Sales Tax, the Corporation Business Tax, and the "Other" category are 4.7 percent, 7.0 percent and 2 percent, respectively. Dr. Rosen agreed revenues are going to increase but not as optimistically as the Treasury projects.
Governor signed into law on April 1. Allows corporations to engage in specific business combinations, such as mergers and consolidations, with interested stockholders. This legislation updates the state's corporate business laws on combinations between resident and domestic corporations and interested stockholders keeping New Jersey companies competitive in the global marketplace.
Governor signed into law on April 1. Allows corporate shareholders to remotely participate in meetings, and clarifies remedies for dissenting shareholders. This legislation will increase participation and efficiency in shareholder meetings.
Governor signed into law on April 1. Repeals the provision of law that currently addresses lawsuits brought on behalf of a corporation by a shareholder. This legislation will help businesses avoid high costs associated with litigation, which is a major factor in private-sector decision making.
A-2878 (Burzichelli/D-3; Greenwald/D-6; Ramos/D-33; Conaway/D-7; Caride/D-36):
Assembly passed 75-2; sent to Governor. Prohibits an employer from requiring a current or prospective employee from providing or disclosing any user name or password, or in any way providing the employer access to a personal account or service through an electronic communications device. The State Chamber has concerns regarding liability issues and opposes a provision in the bill that imposes a new cause of action, allowing employees to sue employers for violations.
Assembly passed 75-0; sent to Governor. Creates a crime and penalties for theft from cargo carriers, designated as the "Lieutenant Scott Jenkins' Law." This legislation will help deter potential cargo thieves and protect those who guard New Jersey's ports.
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.