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November 21, 2011

RE: Three Issues

I. League Supports Cable/Telcom Reforms That Protect Consumers
II. 3% Federal IRS Withholding Repealer Enacted
III. DCA Commissioner Grifa Submits Resignation

Dear Mayor:

This is an update on three significant issues.

I. League Supports Cable/Telcom Reforms That Protect Consumers

Today in Trenton, Mayor Brian Wahler of Piscataway, Chair of the League’s Telecommunications Committee and Member of our Executive Board, spoke at a Press Conference in support S-3062, the “Telecommunications-Cable Television Deregulation Ensuring Consumer Protection Act.”

A reasonable alternative to S-2664/A-3766, which the League opposes, S-3062 offers relief from telecommunications regulations where possible, while preserving the important benefits to communities, established in 2006 through enactment of the system wide cable franchise. Accordingly, the League of Municipalities supports S-3062 as an alternative to S-2664.

Last Spring the Assembly passed A-3766, the companion bill to S-2664. As the League of Municipalities reported in an April 18 “Dear Mayor” letter, that bill would eliminate valuable benefits and service received by municipalities through the statewide cable franchise.   Municipal communications to legislators coupled with the concerted effort by the Ratepayer Advocate, AARP, the Jersey Access Group and others stopped the companion legislation, S-2664 from moving forward.

Mayor Wahler high-lighted the value of cable and internet connections to municipalities and their citizens, the benefits of a reverse feed to ensure public health and safety before and during severe weather events , and the importance of BPU rate and service oversight to New Jersey citizens.

The new bill, S-3062, which we support, has been introduced by Senator Bob Smith, who also spoke at today’s event. He was joined by Senator Loretta Weinberg, who will co-sponsor the bill, and by Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula, who will soon introduce a companion measure in the Assembly.

We urge you to contact your State Senator in opposition to S-2664/A-3766, and in support of S-3062.

II. 3% IRS Withholding Repealer Enacted

 Last Wednesday evening, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the amended version of H.R. 674, by a vote of 422 to 0. Today, the bill was signed into law by President Obama.

With this, we have overcome the final hurdle to repealing the 3% Federal IRS withholding requirement originally enacted in Section 511 of the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-222). 

For more information, see our Dear Mayor letters of October 20 at http://www.njslom.org/letters/2011-1020-IRS.html and November 11 at http://www.njslom.org/letters/2011-1111-Fed-IRS-Withholding.html.
Thank you all for your attention to this matter. If you have any questions, contact Jon Moran at 609-695-3481, ext. 121 or jmoran@njslom.com.

III. DCA Commissioner Grifa Submits Resignation

Earlier today, DCA Commissioner Lori Grifa submitted her resignation, effective January 2, 2012, to Governor Christie. At an afternoon Press Conference, the Governor announced that he will nominate Richard E. Constable III, Esq., Deputy Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, to succeed Commissioner Grifa.

We wish to express our gratitude to Commissioner Grifa for her dedication and willingness to work with municipalities.  In her short tenure, Commissioner Grifa was an advocate for reforming affordable housing, facilitating local shared services and advancing the ‘tool kit’ reforms, to help municipalities cope with the new 2% levy cap. She exhibited a consistent willingness to listen, to learn and to cooperate with her Cabinet colleagues, and with local officials throughout the State, in furthering Governor Christie’s municipal agenda.

When we were in agreement, she was a valued and valuable ally. And when she did not agree with our position, she did so respectfully and graciously.

On behalf of the membership of the League of Municipalities, I thank Commissioner Grifa for her public service and wish her the very best in her future endeavors.

Very truly yours,

 

William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director

                                                                    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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