Call Us: (609) 989-7888

NJ Chamber Roundtable BreakfastThe state's special account that funds projects to maintain and improve New Jersey's highways, bridges and mass transit will run out of money this July, and many observers are startled by how little progress appears to have been made toward a solution - such as an increase in the per-gallon gas tax to generate new revenue.

2016 04 13 Tom Bracken New Jersey's business groups welcomed news Tuesday from Gov. Chris Christie that the state's Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund had reached a surplus of about $1 billion and would lead to a roughly $200 million tax cut for employers.

2016 04 12 Christie tmNew Jersey businesses will see their taxes drop by about $48 per employee this summer. Governor Christie announced Tuesday that after running a deficit for several years, the account that pays unemployment claims is now well into the black. Christie said the roughly $1 billion balance in the fund will trigger about $200 million in cuts to the state unemployment insurance tax on businesses. That means the average business, which has paid about $700 a year per employee into the fund, will pay about $652 a year for each worker, the administration said — the first such tax cut since 1998.

This positive development means employers will pay less into the fund and will instead invest more in their businesses and in New Jersey's economic growth.

 

Tracking Legislation and Other Items Important to the Business Community:

Consumer Affairs
Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee
Thumbs Down

Taxing Bottles
A-2281 (Vainieri Huttle/D-37; Spencer/D-29)

Assembly committee passed. This "bottle bill" would require a 10-cent deposit on all plastic and glass bottles and aluminum cans less than 24 oz. and a 20-cent deposit on such beverage containers over 24 oz. up to 3 liters. The proposal would include juice, sports drinks and bottled waters as well as soda, wine and beer containers. New Jersey has a successful mandatory recycling program and a "bottle bill" would disrupt this program by diverting these curbside recyclables. Curbside recycling is effective and convenient for consumers. The State Chamber believes this measure will have a negative economic impact on current recycling efforts by local and county governments, increasing costs and imposing unnecessary burdens on businesses.

Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee A-2281 Vote: Spencer, L. Grace (C) - Yes; McKeon, John F. (VC) - Yes; Rumana, Scott T. - No; Vainieri Huttle, Valerie - Yes; Wolfe, David W. - Not Voting; Zwicker, Andrew - Abstain

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Environment
Assembly Appropriations Committee
Thumbs Down

Regulates E-Waste
A-2375 (McKeon/D-27; Gusciora/D-15; Spencer/D-29)
S-981 (Smith/D-17; Bateman/R-29; Greenstein/D-14)

Assembly committee passed. Requires manufacturers of electronics to provide for the collection, transportation and recycling of its market share in weight of disposed electronics collected in a program year. The State Chamber opposes this legislation because it shifts financial responsibility from recyclers to current New Jersey manufacturers and grants the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection with unlimited authority to establish expensive recycling mandates on electronic product.

Assembly Appropriations Committee A-2375/S-981 Vote: Burzichelli, John J. (C) - Yes; Spencer, L. Grace (VC) - Yes; Conaway, Herb - Not Voting; DiMaio, John - No; Lagana, Joseph A. - Yes; Lampitt, Pamela R. - Yes; Mosquera, Gabriela M. - Yes; Phoebus, Gail - No; Quijano, Annette - Not Voting; Schaer, Gary S. - Yes; Schepisi, Holly - No

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Health
Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Reform and Federal Affairs Committee

Value-Based Health Plans
A-886 (Muoio/D-15; Gusciora/D-15; Quijano/D-20; DeAngelo/D-14; Pinkin/D-18)
A-887 (Muoio/D-15; Gusciora/D-15; Vainieri Huttle/D-37; Conaway/D-7; DeAngelo/D-14)
A-2328 (Vainieri Huttle/D-37; Muoio/D-15; Gusciora/D-15; Wisniewski/D-19; DeAngelo/D-14; Quijano/D-20)
A-2329 (Vainieri Huttle/D-37; Wisniewski/D-19; Muoio/D-15; Gusciora/D-15)
A-2585 (Gusciora/D-15; Muoio/D-15; Quijano/D-20)

Assembly committee passed. One of the main influencers on business decisions remains the increasing costs of health care. Businesses are seeking diverse alternatives, including coverage tailored around patient-centered collaborations which pay for claims based on patient outcomes. Consumers have too often paid costly and redundant medical bills, which has a negative impact on a business's fiscal plan. A diverse health marketplace is what employers need to help curb their health care costs. The State Chamber supports innovation and choice of products, which can help address the needs of the state's employers. Tiered network plans have been an outgrowth of consumer demand for greater options, greater innovation and lower costs.

Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Reform and Federal Affairs Committee A-886/A-887/A-2328/A-2329/A-2585 Vote: Gusciora, Reed (C) - Yes; Wimberly, Benjie E. (VC) - Yes; Brown, Chris A. - No; Rumpf, Brian E. - No; Tucker, Cleopatra G. - Yes

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Labor
Assembly Women and Chuildren Committee
Thumbs Down

Mandatory Flex Time
A-1117 (Oliver/D-34; Lampitt/D-6; Holley/D-20)

Assembly committee passed. Requires retail, food service, and cleaning employers (with 15 or more employees) to provide more predictable and stable schedules for employees. This legislation complicates the ability of employers to predict and properly staff their general business operations. Additionally, employers could be penalized if they do not provide a written reason for denying an employee's scheduling request.

Assembly Women and Children Committee A-1117 Vote: Lampitt, Pamela R. (C) - Yes; Mosquera, Gabriela M. (VC) - Yes; Chaparro, Annette - Yes; Holley, Jamel C. - Yes; Munoz, Nancy F. - No; Phoebus, Gail - No

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State Budget

Throughout the month of April to mid-May, the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee and the Assembly Budget Committee will conduct departmental hearings on the Governor's Fiscal Year 2017 budget proposal. The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee meets in Committee Room 4 on the first floor of the State House Annex, while the Assembly Budget Committee meets in Committee Room 11 on the fourth floor. The following are hearings scheduled by some of the major departments of the state:

  • On Wednesday, April 13, the Assembly Budget Committee will hear from representatives of the Department of Transportation/NJ Transit and the Motor Vehicle Commission at 10 a.m. as well as the Department of Banking and Insurance at 2 p.m.;
  • On Monday, April 18, the Assembly Budget Committee will hear from a representatives of the Department of Health at 10 a.m.;
  • On April 19, the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee will hear from representatives of the Department of Transportation/NJ Transit and the Motor Vehicle Commission at 10 a.m., as well as the Department of Health at 1:30 p.m.;
  • On May 9, the Assembly Budget Committee will hear from representatives of the Department of Environmental Protection at 10 a.m. and the Department of Labor and Workforce Development at 1 p.m.;
  • On May 10, the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee will hear from representatives of the Economic Development Authority and the Board of Public Utilities at 10 a.m. and the Department of Banking and Insurance at 2 p.m.;
  • On May 11, the Assembly Budget Committee will hear from representatives of the Economic Development Authority and the Board of Public Utilities at 10 a.m.;
  • On May 12, the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee will hear from representatives of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development at 10 a.m. and the Department of Environmental Protection at 1 p.m.;
  • On May 18, the Assembly Budget Committee will receive a revenue update from the Office of Legislative Services (OLS) at 10 a.m. and the State Treasurer at 1 p.m.; and
  • On May 19, the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee will receive a revenue update from the Office of Legislative Services (OLS) at 10 a.m. and the State Treasurer at 1 p.m.

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 04 03 Mike EgentonSteve Adubato talks with Michael Egenton, Executive VP of Government Relations NJ Chamber Of Commerce, at the annual “Walk to Washington,” about business issues facing the state including the minimum wage debate, paid sick leave for workers, and tax reforms that would help New Jersey businesses.

NJ Chamber Roundtable BreakfastA proposal in the Legislature to constitutionally require the state to make payments into its massively underfunded public employee pension fund would only deepen New Jersey’s fiscal problems, warned Thomas J. Healey, who coordinates the work of New Jersey’s bi-partisan Pension and Benefits Study Commission.

 

Tracking Legislation and Other Items Important to the Business Community:

Economic Development
Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee
Thumbs Up

Expands Angel Investor Tax Credit Act
S-158 (Madden/D-4; Cruz-Perez/D-5)

Senate passed 37-2. Senate committee passed. Expands eligibility for tax credits under the "New Jersey Angel Investor Tax Credit Act" to include investments in the holding company of a qualified New Jersey emerging technology business. This legislation will expand and encourage investment in emerging technology firms, such as advanced computing, biotechnology, life sciences, medical device technology, mobile communications technology and renewable energy technology.

Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee S-158 Vote: Stack, Brian P. (VC) - Yes; Bateman, Christopher - Yes; Beach, James - Yes; Beck, Jennifer - Yes; Cunningham, Sandra B. - Yes; Greenstein, Linda R. - Yes; Holzapfel, James W. - Yes; O'Toole, Kevin J. - Yes; Pou, Nellie - Yes; Ruiz, M. Teresa - Yes; Scutari, Nicholas P. - Yes; Sweeney, Stephen M. - Yes; Thompson, Samuel D. - No

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Environment
Thumbs Down

Regulates E-Waste
S-981 (Smith/D-17; Bateman/R-29; Greenstein/D-14)

Regulates E-Waste - S-981 (Smith/D-17; Bateman/R-29; Greenstein/D-14): Senate passed 30-6. Requires manufacturers of electronics to provide for the collection, transportation, and recycling of its market share in weight of disposed electronics collected in a program year. The State Chamber opposes this legislation because it shifts financial responsibility from recyclers to current New Jersey manufacturers and grants the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection with unlimited authority to establish expensive recycling mandates on any electronic product.

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Thumbs Down

Renewable Energy Requirement
S-1707 (Smith/D-17; Bateman/R-16; Gordon/D-38)

Senate passed 23-15. Requires a certain percentage of the electricity sold in this state to be from Class I renewable energy. The percentage of electricity sold in this state that is from Class I renewable energy is to increase once every five energy years between 2015 and 2050. The State Chamber sees this as an onerous requirement, and believes the business community needs diversified energy options that are reliable, resilient and affordable.

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Senate Environment and Energy Committee
Thumbs Down

Blocks DEP Rule
SCR-66 (Lesniak/D-20; Smith/D-17)

The Chairman asked for the bill to be held to provide the DEP time to make changes. Prohibits adoption of DEP's proposed rules and regulations to revise its Flood Hazard Area Control Act Rules, Coastal Zone Management Rules, and Stormwater Management Rules. The State Chamber disagrees with the resolution. The proposed rules and regulations are the product of years of work from various stakeholders and maintains the DEP's intent on easing regulatory burdens by clarifying and consolidating many sections of the rules. Additionally, the regulation will add appropriate flexibility and provide greater consistency with federal, local, and other state requirements.

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Health

A package of bills were posted for discussion only in the Senate Commerce Committee and the Assembly Regulatory Oversight, Reform and Federal Relations Committee to address tiered health networks. Introducing these innovative products to the market will turn the tide on rising health care costs. The State Chamber was present to relay our commentary and perspective.

One of the main influencers on business decisions remains the increasing costs of health care. Businesses are seeking diverse alternatives, including coverage tailored around patient-centered collaborations which pay for claims-based patient outcomes. Consumers have too often paid costly and redundant medical bills, which has a negative impact on a business's fiscal plan. A diverse health marketplace is what employers need to help curb their health care costs.

The State Chamber supports innovation and choice of products, which can help address the needs of the state's employers. Tiered network plans have been an outgrowth of consumer demand for greater options, greater innovation and lower costs.

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Labor
Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee
Thumbs Down

Mandated Paid Sick Leave
S-799 (Weinberg/D-37; Sweeney/D-3)

Held - no Senate vote. The bill was amended on the Senate floor to clarify the use of paid time off (PTO) to satisfy the number of paid sick days required in the bill. An additional amendment voted on in committee, clarified that employers would not be subject to a disorderly persons offense under the wage and hour law and only administrative penalties under the law. Senate committee passed. Requires all employers to provide earned sick leave to each worker it employs in New Jersey, with the exemption of employees bound by a collective bargaining agreement. Employees will receive one hour of earned sick leave for every 30 hours worked. A major concern for the State Chamber is the "quasi-preemption" that will grandfather the current eleven municipalities that provide paid sick leave through a local ordinance into this version of the legislation. We believe that this does not provide a level-playing field and may have unintended consequences, setting a bad precedent regarding future legislation that seeks to set statewide standards. Additional concerns include cost of compliance for employers, liability issues, notification, finding replacement workers, and documentation.

Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee S-799 Vote: Sarlo, Paul A. (C) - Yes; Stack, Brian P. (VC) - Yes; Barnes, Peter J. - Yes; Beck, Jennifer - No; Bucco, Anthony R. - No; Cunningham, Sandra B. - Yes; Greenstein, Linda R. - Yes; O'Toole, Kevin J. - No; Oroho, Steven V. - No; Pou, Nellie - Yes; Ruiz, M. Teresa - Yes; Thompson, Samuel D. - No; Van Drew, Jeff - No

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Tourism
Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee
Thumbs Up

Tax Credit for Entertainers Performing in Atlantic City
S-351 (Kean/R-21; Whelan/D-2)

Senate committee passed. Provides for a gross income tax credit for A-list performing artists for income derived from certain live performances contracted for and rendered within the Atlantic City Tourism District and additional locations within the state. This tax credit creates a 100% state income tax exemption for top performers who commit to perform periodically in Atlantic City. The economic success of Atlantic City as a premier destination for gambling and entertainment requires additional incentives for drawing top-ranked entertainers and spectator events to the Atlantic City Tourism District and other locations in the state.

Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee S-351 Vote: Whelan, Jim (C) - Yes; Turner, Shirley K. (VC) - Yes; Cruz Perez, Nilsa - Yes; Oroho, Steven V. - Yes; Thompson, Samuel D. - Yes

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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.

2016 03 15 AC tmNew Jersey voters will be asked this November to decide if casino gaming in the state should expand beyond Atlantic City, after a resolution to place the question on the ballot received the necessary three-fifths majority support from both the Senate and the Assembly on Monday.

NJ Chamber Roundtable BreakfastThe state's impending transportation funding crisis can be solved in the next few months, and the Christie Administration will lead a push for the outright elimination of the New Jersey estate tax during its last two years in office.

These assertions were made by newly appointed Acting State Treasurer Ford M. Scudder, during an address to business leaders March 9 at a breakfast in East Windsor sponsored jointly by the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce and the New Jersey Business & Industry Association.

Tracking Legislation and Other Items Important to the Business Community:

Economic Development
Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee
Thumbs Up

Expediting Permits
A-1768 (Burzichelli/D-3; Rumana/R-40)

Assembly committee passed. Directs every state agency to identify permits that can be expedited by issuing a general permit instead. This reform measure implements one of the findings of the "Red Tape Review Commission Findings and Recommendations" report, issued February 2012.

Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee A-1768 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 - Yes; Eustace, Tim - Yes; Mukherji, Raj - Yes; Munoz, Nancy F. - Yes; Muoio, Elizabeth Maher - Yes; Oliver, Sheila Y. - Yes

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Education
Senate Labor Committee
Thumbs Up

STEM Fellowship
S-176 (Bateman/R-16)

Senate committee passed. Dedicates workforce development funds for a New Jersey STEM Entrepreneur Fellowship Program in the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. The program will be designed by the department in consultation with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority and the Secretary of Higher Education.

Senate Labor Committee S-176 Vote: Madden, Fred H. (C) - Yes; Vitale, Joseph F. (VC) - Yes; Addiego, Dawn Marie - Yes; Bucco, Anthony R. - Yes; Cunningham, Sandra B. - Yes

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Environment
Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee
Thumbs Down

RGGI
A-1493 (McKeon/D-27; Gusciora/D-15; Vainieri Huttle/D-37)

Assembly committee passed. Requires participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The State Chamber opposes this measure because the RGGI program was not effective in cutting emissions of carbon dioxide and the program ultimately contributed to higher energy prices for residents and businesses in New Jersey.

Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee A-1493 Vote: Spencer, L. Grace (C) - Yes; McKeon, John F. (VC) - Yes; Auth, Robert - No; Rumana, Scott T. - No; Wisniewski, John S. - Yes; Zwicker, Andrew - Yes

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Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee
Thumbs Down

Blocks DEP Rule
ACR-160 (McKeon/D-27; Spencer/D-29)

Assembly committee passed. Prohibits adoption of DEP's proposed rules and regulations to revise its Flood Hazard Area Control Act Rules, Coastal Zone Management Rules, and Stormwater Management Rules. The State Chamber disagrees with the resolution. The proposed rules and regulations are the product of years of work from various stakeholders and maintains the DEP's intent on easing regulatory burdens by clarifying and consolidating many sections of the rules. Additionally, the regulation will add appropriate flexibility and provide greater consistency with federal, local, and other state requirements.

Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee ACR-160 Vote: Spencer, L. Grace (C) - Yes; McKeon, John F. (VC) - Yes; Auth, Robert - No; Rumana, Scott T. - Abstain; Wisniewski, John S. - Yes; Zwicker, Andrew - Yes

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Senate Environment and Energy Committee
Thumbs Down

Renewable Energy Requirement
S-1707 (Smith/D-17; Bateman/R-16; Gordon/D-38)

Senate committee passed. Requires a certain percentage of the electricity sold in this state to be from Class I renewable energy. The percentage of electricity sold in this state that is from Class I renewable energy is to increase once every five energy years between 2015 and 2050.

Senate Environment and Energy Committee S-1707 Vote: Smith, Bob. (C) - Yes; Greenstein, Linda R. (VC) - Yes; Bateman, Christopher - Not Voting; Codey, Richard J. - Yes; Thompson, Samuel D. - Not Voting

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Senate Environment and Energy Committee
Thumbs Down

Stormwater Utilities
S-762 (Smith/D-17; Bateman/R-16)

Senate committee passed. Authorizes counties, county utilities authorities, municipalities and municipal utilities authorities that hold a combined sewer systems general permit to regulate combined sewer overflows, and to establish and maintain a stormwater utility management system financed through user fees. This bill would place an additional tax on businesses that may already be paying their fair share of stormwater permit fees to the NJ Department of Environmental Protection.

Senate Environment and Energy Committee S-762 Vote: Smith, Bob. (C) - Yes; Greenstein, Linda R. (VC) - Yes; Bateman, Christopher - Not Voting; Codey, Richard J. - Yes; Thompson, Samuel D. - Not Voting

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Legal
Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee
Thumbs Up

Bad Faith Assertions
A-310 (Singleton/D-7; Bucco/R-25; Wimberly/D-35)

Assembly committee passed. Protects New Jersey businesses from abusive patent litigation prompted by bad faith assertions of patent infringement. The bill also provides the Attorney General the authority to make rules, conduct civil investigations, bring civil actions, and obtain injunctions for conduct involving bad faith assertions of patent infringement.

Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee A-310 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 - Yes; Eustace, Tim - Yes; Mukherji, Raj - Yes; Munoz, Nancy F. - Yes; Muoio, Elizabeth Maher - Yes; Oliver, Sheila Y. - Yes

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Taxation
Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee
Thumbs Down

Mandatory Unitary Combined Reporting
S-982 (Lesniak/D-20; Sarlo/D-36) For discussion only.

Requires members of unitary business groups to file combined reports of corporation business tax. There is substantial uncertainty over the revenue impacts of combined reporting. The State Chamber believes there will be significant increases and decreases in tax liabilities, increases in administrative and litigation costs for businesses, and negative impacts on the state's overall economy.

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Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee
Thumbs Up

Estate Tax Phase-out/Elimination
S-1728 (Sarlo/D-36; Oroho/R-24; Van Drew/D-1)

Senate committee passed. Phases out the New Jersey estate tax over five years, first by replacing the current $675,000 threshold with a $1 million exclusion, and then increasing that exclusion amount until the tax is eliminated. The phase-out of the estate tax will keep more citizens and businesses in New Jersey, who in turn will pay more in taxes, which means they will spend more money to improve the economy.

Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee S-1728 Vote: Sarlo, Paul A. (C) - Yes; Stack, Brian P. (VC) - Abstain; Barnes, Peter J. - Yes; Beck, Jennifer - Yes; Bucco, Anthony R. - Yes; Cunningham, Sandra B. - Abstain; Greenstein, Linda R. - Abstain; Kean, Thomas H. - Yes; O'Toole, Kevin J. - Yes; Oroho, Steven V. - Yes; Ruiz, M. Teresa - Abstain; Smith, Bob - Yes; Van Drew, Jeff - Yes

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Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee
Thumbs Up

Pension and Retirement Income Exclusion
S-998 (Sarlo/D-36; Oroho/R-24; Sweeney/D-3)

Senate committee passed. Increases the personal income tax's pension and retirement income tax exclusion fivefold over three years. The bill would apply to individuals who are 62 years old or older on the last day of the tax year, or who qualify as disabled under Social Security guidelines, allowing for a "pension exclusion" on pensions, annuities, and IRA withdrawals on their gross income for the entire year. New Jersey's neighboring states all have friendlier income tax policies for their retirees. Among the 41 states with a broad-based income tax, 36 offer exclusions for state or federal pension income or both, exclusions for retirement income, or tax credits targeted at the elderly.

Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee S-998 Vote: Sarlo, Paul A. (C) - Yes; Stack, Brian P. (VC) - Yes; Barnes, Peter J. - Yes; Beck, Jennifer - Yes; Bucco, Anthony R. - Yes; Cunningham, Sandra B. - Yes; Greenstein, Linda R. - Abstain; Kean, Thomas H. - Yes; O'Toole, Kevin J. - Yes; Oroho, Steven V. - Yes; Ruiz, M. Teresa - Yes; Smith, Bob - Yes; Van Drew, Jeff - Yes

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Telecommunications
Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee
Thumbs Up

Imposes Tax on Telephone Companies
A-184 (Caputo/D-28; Gusciora/D-15; Danielsen/D-17): Held for discussion only.

Clarifies the application of the business personal property tax on local exchange telephone companies that were subject to the tax as of 1997. Since its inception, business personal property taxes (BPPT) have harmed our state's marketplace by imposing unnecessary financial burdens on certain business enterprises - most notably, our state's incumbent phone carriers. Discriminatory taxes like this hurt the economy and our state's workers by impeding investment in infrastructure improvements and new products and services. Structuring taxes against one particular business could lead to unfair treatment of other industries down the road, and would set a bad precedent.

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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.

A pair of bipartisan bills that aim to phase out New Jersey’s estate tax and offer more exclusions for taxes on retirement income were advanced Monday by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.