Tracking Legislation and Other Items Important to the Business Community:
FISCAL 2014 STATE BUDGET
The Governor released his proposed FY 2014 budget on February 26. It includes the continued phase-in of the five business tax reform initiatives the State Chamber has long championed: a single sales factor formula for determining Corporation Business Tax liability; a net operating loss carry forward for small businesses; reducing the minimum tax on S-corporations; fully funding the Research & Development Tax Credit; and phasing out an energy tax called the Transitional Energy Facility Assessment. Matt Malat, the State Chamber's government relations director, testified in support for the business tax relief initiatives before the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. The Governor's budget would yield an additional $213.5 million in business tax relief, ratcheting the total to $540 million over three years.
Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee
Senate committee passed; Assembly committee passed. Amends the "Local Redevelopment and Housing Law," to incorporate the decision of the New Jersey Supreme Court in Gallenthin v. Paulsboro, 191 N.J. 344 (2007), which emphasized that the use of eminent domain cannot be justified solely because the property is underutilized, unless the property otherwise meets the criteria for blight. The State Chamber believes this clarification will create more opportunities for towns and redevelopers to advance beneficial redevelopment projects throughout the state.
Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee A-3615 Vote: Coutinho, Albert (C) - Yes; Gusciora, Reed (V) - Yes; Bucco, Anthony M. - Yes; Mosquera, Gabriela M. - Yes; Munoz, Nancy F. - Yes; Singleton, Troy - Yes; Sumter, Shavonda E. - Yes
Senate Community & Urban Affairs Committee S-2447 Vote: Van Drew, Jeff (C) - Yes; Rice, Ronald L. (V) - Yes; Connors, Christopher J. - Yes; Stack, Brian P. - Yes; Thompson, Samuel D. - Yes
Senate Economic Growth Committee
Assembly committee passed; Senate Committee Passed. Consolidates the Grow New Jersey Assistance program the Economic Redevelopment and Growth Grant program (ERGG), and the Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit program to create a single business incentive program administered by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. The State Chamber believes enhancing the State's incentive programs will benefit small businesses in New Jersey, attract larger businesses to the State, and encourage new entrepreneurs, making our State a formidable competitor in both the national and global economy.
Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee A-3680 Vote: Coutinho, Albert (C) - Yes; Gusciora, Reed (V) - Yes; Bucco, Anthony M. - Yes; Mosquera, Gabriela M. - Yes; Munoz, Nancy F. - Yes; Singleton, Troy - Yes; Sumter, Shavonda E. - Yes
Senate Economic Growth Committee S-2583 Vote: Lesniak, Raymond J. (C) - Yes; Vitale, Joseph F. (V) - Yes; Codey, Richard J. - Yes; Kyrillos, Joseph M. - Yes; Oroho, Steven V. - Yes
Making Government Reports Transparent
A-3490 (Ramos/D-33; Caputo/D-28; O'Scanlon/R-13; Burzichelli/D-3):
Committee passed. Requires state agencies to post reports to their respective websites. The State Chamber believes government transparency contributes to a positive business climate and allows employers to better plan for upcoming policy.
Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee A-3490 Vote: Ramos, Ruben J. (C) - Yes; Burzichelli, John J. (V) - Yes; Amodeo, John F. - Yes; Barnes, Peter J. - Yes; Dancer, Ronald S. - Yes
Rule-Making Action Database
A-3755 (Ramos/D-33; Caputo/D-28; Webber/R-26; Burzichelli/D-3):
Committee passed. Requires the Office of Administrative Law to establish and maintain, on its website, a searchable database that identifies the number, nature and status of all pending rule-making actions. The State Chamber believes an open and transparent rule-making process will assist the business community in addressing various rules and regulations.
Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee A-3755 Vote: Ramos, Ruben J. (C) - Yes; Burzichelli, John J. (V) - Yes; Amodeo, John F. - Yes; Barnes, Peter J. - Yes; Dancer, Ronald S. - Yes
Committee passed. Requires insurers to cover comprehensive ultrasound breast screening if a mammogram demonstrates dense breast tissue and requires mammogram reports to contain information on breast density. The State Chamber believes health insurance mandates raises the cost of coverage, placing additional financial pressures on businesses and those they employ.
Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee S-792/A-2022 Vote: Conaway, Herb, Jr. (C) - Yes; Benson, Daniel R. (V) - Yes; Angelini, Mary Pat - Abstain; Eustace, Timothy J. - Yes; Green, Jerry - Yes; Handlin, Amy H. - Abstain; Jimenez, Angelica M. - Yes; Munoz, Nancy F. - Abstain; Peterson, Erik - Abstain; Sumter, Shavonda E. - Yes; Tucker, Cleopatra G. - Not Voting
Mandates Coverage of "Off-Label" Uses of Drugs
A-1830 (Conaway/D-7; Vainieri Huttle/D-37; Ramos/D-33):
Committee passed. Requires insurance coverage of "off-label" uses of drugs in the state's regulated individual and small employer markets and the state employee health plans. "Off-label" use is a legal practice in which a drug is used for a specific treatment that has not been approved by the FDA. The State Chamber sought amendments, such as incorporating stricter criteria for requiring an insurance carrier to cover off-label uses of drugs, as recommended by the Mandated Health Benefits Advisory Commission.
Assembly Appropriations Committee A-1830 Vote: Burzichelli, John J. (C) - Yes; Barnes, Peter J. (V) - Yes; Casagrande, Caroline - Yes; Conaway, Herb - Yes; Fuentes, Angel -Yes; Lampitt, Pamela R. - Yes; McHose, Alison Littell - No; Simon, Donna M. - Yes; Spencer, L. Grace - Yes
Bad Faith Bill
S-2460 (Scutari/D-22; Beck/R-11):
Committee held. Creates the right to file "bad faith" insurance claims against companies for settlement disputes. Specifically, the bill would create a vast new private right of action and enable policyholders to recover damages in excess of the terms of their insurance contract. The State Chamber believes this measure will raise insurance premiums which will ultimately be passed on to residents and businesses.
Senate Labor Committee
Assembly committee passed; Senate committee passed. This bill will create a third degree crime on trucking industry employers who misclassify employees as "independent contractors," particularly impacting small business owner-operators. The State Chamber opposes this measure because it prohibits trucking industry employers from continuing a pre-established arrangement with their drivers and could potentially drive up the cost of goods throughout New Jersey.
Assembly Transportation, Public Works and Independent Authorities Committee A-1578 Vote: Wisniewski, John S. (C) - Yes; Stender, Linda (V) - Yes; Amodeo, John F. - No; Caride, Marlene - Yes; Chivukula, Upendra J. - Yes; Giblin, Thomas P. - Yes; Mainor, Charles - Yes; Ramos, Ruben J. - Yes; Riley, Celeste M. - Yes; Rudder, Scott - No; Rumpf, Brian E. - No; Wolfe, David W. - Abstain
Senate Labor Committee S-1450 Vote: Madden, Fred H., Jr. (C) - Yes; Addiego, Dawn Marie - No; Bucco, Anthony R. - No; Sweeney, Stephen M. - Yes; Weinberg, Loretta - Yes
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.