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2016 09 14 NJCCF tmBusiness leaders, legislators and state government department heads, including Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno, packed the galleries and the outdoor pavilions of the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton on June 9 for the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce's 19th Annual Open House.

 

Tracking Legislation and Other Items Important to the Business Community:

Budget
Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee
Thumbs Up

BEIP Tax Credits
S-2477 (Sarlo/D-36; Oroho/R-24) /
A-4083

Senate committee passed. This legislation would allow companies that are using BEIP tax credits to pay their insurance premiums tax to receive a refund if their tax credits are higher in value than what they owe in the insurance premiums tax. Previously, companies could only receive refunds if they chose to apply the tax credit to their corporate business tax liability.

Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee S-2477 Vote: Sarlo, Paul (C) - Yes; Stack, Brian P. (VC) - Yes; Beach, James - Yes; Beck, Jennifer - Yes; Bucco, Anthony R. - Yes; Cunningham, Sandra B. - Yes; Diegnan, Patrick J, Jr. - Yes; Gordon, Robert M. - Yes; O'Toole, Kevin J. - Yes; Oroho, Steven V. - Yes; Pou, Nellie - Yes; Rice, Ronald L. - Yes; Thompson, Samuel D. - Yes

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Economic Development
Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee
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Microenterprise Assistance
A-3333 (Singleton/D-7; Mukherji/D-33; Oliver/D-34) /
S-1509 (Turner/D-15; Cruz-Perez/D-5)

Assembly committee passed. Provides counseling and assistance to microbusiness startups. One-Stop Career Centers would be required to provide additional services focused on microenterprise training. A previous version of the bill was amended at the request of the State Chamber to ensure experienced business counselors provide assistance to entrepreneurs.

Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee A-3333 Vote: Johnson, Gordon M. (C) - Yes; Pintor Marin, Eliana (VC) - Yes; Auth, Robert - Abstain; Bucco, Anthony M. - Abstain; Chiaravalloti, Nicholas - Yes; Coughlin, Craig J. - Yes; DeCroce, BettyLou - Not Voting; Eustace, Tim - Yes; Kennedy, James J. - Yes; Mukherji, Raj - Not Voting; Munoz, Nancy F. - Abstain; Oliver, Sheila Y. - Yes

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Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee
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Establishes the Main Street Economic Development Program
A-2223 (Benson/D-14; Johnson/D-37; Mazzeo/D-2; DeCroce/R-26; Mosquera/D-4; Huttle/D-37; Coughlin/D-19) /
S-892 (Whelan/D-2; Bucco/R-25)

Assembly committee passed. Provides financial and technical assistance to businesses located in a Main Street area within a small municipality. The bill's purpose is to encourage business development in small municipalities with substantially developed commercial areas. The State Chamber believes this measure will strengthen small businesses located on Main Streets throughout New Jersey.

Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee A-2223 Vote: Johnson, Gordon M. (C) - Yes; Pintor Marin, Eliana (VC) - Yes; Auth, Robert - Yes; Bucco, Anthony M. - Yes; Chiaravalloti, Nicholas - Yes; Coughlin, Craig J. - Yes; DeCroce, BettyLou - Not Voting; Eustace, Tim - Yes; Kennedy, James J. - Yes; Mukherji, Raj - Not Voting; Munoz, Nancy F. - Yes; Oliver, Sheila Y. - Yes

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Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee
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Establishes "Small Business Bonding Readiness Assistance Program"
A-3559 (Holley/D-20; Oliver/D-34; Wimberly/D-35; Muoio/D-15; Pintor Marin/D-29; Mukherji/D-33) /
S-123 (Pennacchio/R-26; Rice/D-28)

Assembly committee passed. Establishes a "Small Business Bonding Readiness Assistance Program" to be run by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority to assist certain small businesses in meeting state or federal contract surety bond requirements. The program would receive $250,000 annually from the enterprise zone assistance fund. This program is intended to give small businesses the knowledge and capacity to bid on public works projects or perform government contracts.

Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee A-3559 Vote: Johnson, Gordon M. (C) - Yes; Pintor Marin, Eliana (VC) - Yes; Auth, Robert - Yes; Bucco, Anthony M. - Yes; Chiaravalloti, Nicholas - Yes; Coughlin, Craig J. - Yes; DeCroce, BettyLou - Not Voting; Eustace, Tim - Yes; Kennedy, James J. - Yes; Mukherji, Raj - Not Voting; Munoz, Nancy F. - Yes; Oliver, Sheila Y. - Yes

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Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee
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Designates Small Business Month
AJR-52 (DeAngelo/D-14; Quijano/D-20)

Designates May of each year as "Small Business Month" in New Jersey. The intent of this resolution is to recognize the importance of small businesses in the state and local economies, and how their success strengthens community identity and pride. Small businesses, businesses with less than 500 employees, contribute to approximately half of the nation's annual GDP and more than half of the nation's employment. New Jersey was recently reported to have more than 820,000 small businesses, which comprise more than 98 percent of all New Jersey employers, and employ 1.7 million workers, making up more than half of the State's workforce.

Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee AJR-52 Vote: Johnson, Gordon M. (C) - Yes; Pintor Marin, Eliana (VC) - Yes; Auth, Robert - Yes; Bucco, Anthony M. - Yes; Chiaravalloti, Nicholas - Yes; Coughlin, Craig J. - Yes; DeCroce, BettyLou - Not Voting; Eustace, Tim - Yes; Kennedy, James J. - Yes; Mukherji, Raj - Not Voting; Munoz, Nancy F. - Yes; Oliver, Sheila Y. - Yes

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Senate Economic Growth Committee
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Aquaculture Industry
SJR-36 (Van Drew/D-1; Connors/R-9)
AJR-24 (Andrzejczak/D-1; Houghtaling/D-11)

Senate committee passed. Declares aquaculture an important state economic driver and urges the state to include the aquaculture industry in its economic development plans. New Jersey currently has over 160 licensed aquatic farmers and according to the Aquaculture Innovation Center at Rutgers, the total economic impact of aquaculture to New Jersey is as high as $36 million.

Senate Economic Growth Committee SJR-36 Vote: Lesniak, Raymond J. (C) - Yes; Cruz-Perez, Nilsa (VC) - Yes; Kyrillos, Joseph M. - Yes; Oroho, Steven V. - Yes; Whelan, Jim - Yes

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Senate Economic Growth Committee
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Establishes Joint Permit Application Process for Aquaculture Projects
S-316 (Van Drew/D-1; Connors/R-9) /
A-793 (Andrzejczak/D-1; Land/D-1)

Senate committee passed. Requires the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Environmental Protection to work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to establish a joint permit application process for aquaculture projects that require both state and federal permits, licenses and approvals. This bill will make the approval process more efficient and increase the incentive for developers to launch aquaculture projects.

Senate Economic Growth Committee S-316 Vote: Lesniak, Raymond J. (C) - Yes; Cruz-Perez, Nilsa (VC) - Yes; Kyrillos, Joseph M. - Yes; Oroho, Steven V. - Yes; Whelan, Jim - Yes

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Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism, and Historic Preservation Committee
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Targets Inverted Business Entities
S-1513 (Turner/D-15)

Senate committee passed. Prohibits the awarding of state contracts and development subsidies to inverted domestic corporations. This measure, which prohibits inverted companies from bidding on state contracts and applying for economic development incentives, will hurt New Jersey's competitive advantage and future job creation. The incentives are designed to grow jobs for New Jersey residents and provide additional ratables to the state and to municipalities. Inverted businesses should not be cut off from incentives that assist in job creation.

Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism, and Historic Preservation Committee S-1513 Vote: Whelan, Jim (C) - Yes; Turner, Shirley K. - Yes; Diegnan, Patrick J., Jr. - Yes; Oroho, Steven V. - No; Thompson, Samuel D. - Abstain

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Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism, and Historic Preservation Committee
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Rule-Making Actions Database
S-2023 (Van Drew/D-1; Oroho/R-24) /
A-2082 (Mukherji/D-33; Pintor Marin/D-29; Webber/R-26; Mazzeo/D-2; Conaway/D-7)

Senate committee passed. Requires the Office of Administrative Law to establish and maintain an Internet database that summarizes all state rule-making actions, which would provide members of the public with a full, complete, and easily comprehensible overview of pending or proposed rule-making activity in the State. The State Chamber believes transparency will provide for more efficiency within the government.

Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism, and Historic Preservation Committee S-2023 Vote: Whelan, Jim (C) - Yes; Turner, Shirley K. - Yes; Diegnan, Patrick J., Jr. - Yes; Oroho, Steven V. - Yes; Thompson, Samuel D. - Yes

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Environment
Senate Environment and Energy Committee
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Lead Contamination Appropriation
S-2062 (Bateman/R-16)

Appropriates up to $20 million from societal benefits charge to Department of Environmental Protection for remediation of lead contamination in drinking water in public buildings. The bill takes money paid by electric and gas ratepayers for energy efficiency and clean energy projects and turns it over to the DEP to pay for infrastructure. The State Chamber encourages the State of New Jersey to consider the utilization of other sources of revenue, such as the Environmental Infrastructure Trust (EIT), for cleanups, instead of diverting revenue from the clean energy fund.

Senate Environment and Energy Committee S-2062 Vote: Smith, Bob (C) - Yes; Bateman, Christopher - Yes; Codey, Richard J. - Yes; Lesniak, Raymond J. - Yes; Thompson, Samuel D. - Abstain

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Senate Environment and Energy Committee
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Drinking Water Standards
S-2468 (Lesniak/D-20) /
A-4095 (Eustace/D-38; Singleton/D-7; Holley/D-20)

Senate committee passed. Directs the DEP to adopt standards for certain drinking water contaminants as recommended by Drink Water Quality Institute. The State Chamber raised concerns at the hearing regarding the policy, procedure and process aspect of the proposal, circumventing the current Administrative Procedures Act (APA) in general agency rulemaking.

Senate Environment and Energy Committee S-2468 Vote: Smith, Bob (C) - Yes; Bateman, Christopher - Yes; Codey, Richard J. - Yes; Lesniak, Raymond J. - Yes; Thompson, Samuel D. - Yes

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Insurance
Senate Commerce Committee
Thumbs Up

Emergency Price Increases
S-2321 (Oroho/R-24) /
A-3774 (Burzichelli/D-3; Wisniewski/D-19)

Senate committee passed. Amends statutory language regarding price-gouging during a state of emergency by specifying an exact period of time during which excessive price increases would be prohibited. This bill stipulates that excessive price increases would be prohibited during a state of emergency and for an initial period of 30 days following the declaration of a state of emergency, unless the Governor extends the prohibition for periods of time up to 10 days.

Senate Commerce Committee S-2321 Vote: Gill, Nia H. (C) - Yes; Lesniak, Raymond J. (VC) - Yes; Beach, James - Yes; Cardinale, Gerald - Yes; Kean, Thomas H., Jr. - Yes; Scutari, Nicholas P. - Yes

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Labor
Assembly Labor Committee
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Unemployment Compensation and Labor Disputes
A-3819 (Quijano/D-20; DeAngelo/D-14; Giblin/D-34; Benson/D-14; Zwicker/D-16; Danielsen/D-17; Houghtaling/D-11) /
S-2160 (Vitale/D-19; Sweeney/D-3)

Concerns unemployment compensation and labor disputes. The bill was inspired by the Verizon strike, which was resolved in May. It is modeled after similar legislation in New York and Alaska. The legislation would allow striking workers to collect benefits under several different scenarios. In situations where an employer refuses to comply with a collective bargaining agreement or a contract with the union, workers would be covered immediately. The State Chamber has concerns regarding the impact of this proposal on the solvency of the Unemployment Insurance fund.

Assembly Labor Committee A-3819 Vote: Egan, Joseph V. (C) - Yes; Sumter, Shavonda E. - Yes; Coughlin, Craig J. - Yes; Dancer, Ronald S. - Abstain; Houghtaling, Eric - Yes; Mukherji, Raj - Yes; Singleton, Troy - Yes; Space, Parker - No; Webber, Jay - No

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Nominations
Senate Judiciary Committee

On September 12, the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmed the nomination of Ford M. Scudder by a vote of 11-1 as Treasurer of the New Jersey Department of the Treasury. A Princeton University graduate with a degree in economics, Scudder previously served as COO and a senior research analyst at Laffer Associates.

The Senate Judiciary Committee also confirmed the nomination of Hal Wirths by a vote of 11-1 to the New Jersey State Parole Board. Wirths previously served as Sussex County freeholder from 2000 to 2010 and most recently the Commissioner of Workforce Development for six and a half years. Under Wirths, the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund became fully solvent, 258,000 private sector jobs were created, and the unemployment rate halved. During his time as Commissioner, Wirths focused on unemployment fraud and cut employment taxes on employers by $380 million.

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.

2016 09 12 prieto sweeney christie tmGov. Chris Christie and state legislative leaders are discussing a reduction in the state sales tax, potentially by half a percentage point, as part of a deal to replenish the Transportation Trust Fund, POLITICO New Jersey has learned.

The New Jersey Chamber of Commerce applauds Governor Christie's veto of the $15 minimum wage bill.

The Chamber believes this increase would have a potentially catastrophic effect on business, on the state economy, and most importantly, on many of the workers this wage increase is supposed to help.

"Diversity is not just the right thing, it is a profitable thing,” said Chamber president and CEO Tom Bracken. “An inclusive workplace leads to fresh business approaches and opens doors to clients, contacts and customers that also value diversity."

2016 08 24 workplace drama tmA new survey finds most New Jersey businessmen and businesswomen agree that women in the workplace having equal footing with men is a good idea.

But ask them whether their workplace needs improvement, and the responses differ.

New Jersey's Male and Female Execs Disagree on How Quickly the Business Community is Achieving Gender Diversity

Having women well represented in the workplace gives companies a competitive edge over companies that are not gender diverse, according to an overwhelming percentage of Garden State business executives that responded to the CohnReznick - New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Summer 2016 Business Climate Survey. Results were released today.

The survey, which focused on women in the workplace, revealed “a disconnect” in men’s and women’s perceptions of gender diversity, said Philip Mandel, regional managing partner at CohnReznick, a New York City-based accounting firm.

Women business leaders are about twice as likely as their male counterparts to say their company should put more effort into increasing gender diversity, a new poll said.

The New Jersey Chamber of Commerce is pleased that the constitutional amendment mandating pension payments will not be on the November ballot.

This should clear the way for state legislators to expeditiously resolve the Transportation Trust Fund and tax fairness issues, including the phase out of the estate tax, as proposed by the state Senate and Assembly.

The N.J. Chamber believes the state legislature should pass the proposed legislation that responsibly funds the Transportation Trust Fund and effectively provides tax reform and fairness. Both are critical to New Jersey's economic future.

We are very pleased to see New Jersey's strong job growth in the month of June. As we have said many times, job growth is the key to the economic future of New Jersey and we hope this month begins a sustained trend that enhances New Jersey's business climate and enables us to achieve fiscal stability.