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June 27, 2014

Re:   State Budget Goes to Governor & Legislative Recap for June 26

Dear Mayor:

I. State Budget Goes to Governor

Yesterday in Trenton, almost exclusively along party lines, both Houses of the Legislature passed bills increasing (for three years) the Income Tax rate (A-3485/S-2263) for earnings in excess of $1 Million, and increasing (for one year) the Corporate Tax rate (A-3484/S-2262). Both Houses also passed an Appropriations Act (S-2015/A-3482) that would, among other things, fully fund the State’s FY 2015 pension obligation. As indicated in our June 25 letter, the Appropriations Act passed yesterday would also: allow only municipalities (and not other local units) apply for Transitional Aid, eliminate “Best Practices” language that would have allowed the Division of Local Government Services to withhold property tax relief based on criteria “related to compliance with a statute, regulations or Executive Order …”; and eliminate the Governor’s proposal to impose the Urban Enterprise Zone sales tax on business-to-business transactions. Governor Christie is expected to veto the Income and Corporation Tax bills, and exercise his line-item veto power to make significant changes to the Appropriations Act bill. Following that, final actions on State FY 2015 revenue and spending priorities are expected to occur in both the General Assembly and the State Senate on Monday. We will keep you posted. Contact:  Jon Moran, 609-695-3481 x121, jmoran@njslom.com

II. Police Camera Mandate
Yesterday, the State Senate approved by a vote of 34-3 A-2280/S-1305, which would require certain new or used municipal police vehicles to be equipped with mobile video recording systems. The bill also provides that a mobile device video recording systems worn or otherwise used by a police officer would qualify, in lieu of a device placed in a vehicle. In addition, the bill increases by $25 the surcharge imposed on persons convicted of driving while intoxicated, which would be used to offset the cost of equipping police vehicles with video recording systems, as required by this bill. 

According to an Office of Legislative Services analysis, the new revenues will, most likely, prove insufficient to fully fund the new mandate.  The League, therefore, opposes this unfunded state mandate.   Our thanks to Senators Beck, Doherty and Lesniak for voting no on this bill.

If you recall, this bill was passed during the “lame duck” session in January and pocket vetoed by the Governor.  Please contact the Governor’s office as soon as possible, and ask him to again veto A-2280/S-1305.  Contact:  Jon Moran, 609-695-3481 x121, jmoran@njslom.com.

III. Prohibition of Municipal Registration of Multi-Family Dwellings
We are pleased to report to you that S-1972, which the League opposes, was held and not voted on by the State Senate yesterday. This bill will preempt any municipal ordinance requiring registration for multi-family dwellings. Our thanks to the many local officials who contacted their State Senators to express their opposition.  This legislation, however, could return and be posted again for a vote. If you have not done so already, we urge you to contact your State Senator and express opposition to S-1972.  For more, please see the League’s Dear Mayor letter of May 20 (www.njslom.org/letters/2014-0520-Legislative-Alert.html.) Contact: Mike Cerra, 609-695-3481 x120 or  mcerra@njslom.com .

IV. Land Banking Bill Goes to the Governor
A-441/S-438 passed the State Senate yesterday by a vote of 27-11 and now goes to the Governor for his consideration. This bill, which the League supports,will allow municipalities to designate redevelopment entities, including the municipality itself and certain non-profit entities, to act as land banks.  Please contact the Governor’s Office and ask him to support A441/S-438.  Contact: Mike Cerra, 609-695-3481x120 or  mcerra@njslom.com.

V. Non-Residential  Development Fee
The Assembly has approved A-1907, which would re-establish the moratorium on the imposition of fees on non-residential construction projects until the end of 2014.  The previous suspension expired on July 1, 2013 and the fee provision is currently in effect.  The bill would require reimbursement to developers of the fee provided that the collected money has not been expended.  The Senate companion, S-1011, is poised for a vote by the full Senate, possibly on Monday.  Contact: Mike Cerra, 609-695-3481x120 or  mcerra@njslom.com.

VI. Open Space Referendum Passes Senate; fate in Assembly uncertain
The State Senate approved, by a vote of 35-1, SCR-84, which would place a voter referendum on the ballot asking voter approval to rededicate a portion the corporation business taxes for open space, farmland and historic site preservation. In order for the referendum to be placed on the November ballot, the initiative would need Assembly approval, by a three-fifths super majority (48 ‘yes’ votes), by early August.   It appears that the initiative will not advance in the Assembly before the June 30 budget deadline and its fate is uncertain.  Contact: Mike Cerra, 609-695-3481x120 or  mcerra@njslom.com

Very truly yours,

William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director

 

 

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