July 1, 2014
RE: Weekly Summer Legislative Update
Through the summer months, the League will send you a Weekly Summer Legislative Update to provide you updates on any possible legislative action and to focus on issues which we believe may emerge in the fall. Today, we provide you a summary of the latest State budget developments and a summary of bills of interest on the Governor’s desk.
I. Governor Vetoes Revenue Raisers, Cuts Line-items in Appropriation Act and Signs State FY 2015 Budget
As forecast in our June 27 letter, available at www.njslom.org/letters/2014-0627-Budget.html, Governor Christie has vetoed the proposed Income Tax and Corporate Tax increases. As a result of those vetoes and other adjustments effected by the exercise of his line-item veto powers, the Governor asserted that the amount of state funds available in the new fiscal year will be $32.9 billion – about $1 billion less than the Legislature had assumed in the bill it had passed last Thursday.
The final budget WILL NOT reduce municipal property tax relief funding programs. The Governor balanced the budget, via the line-item veto, by underfunding actuarially required public pension payments and by reducing other proposed spending. In his message to the Legislature and in his Press Release on these actions, Governor Christie reiterated his call for more public employee pension and benefit changes. We will share specific details on the Governor’s proposed changes, when they are made available.
When the Appropriations Act and supporting analyses are posted on-line, you will be able to access them at the Legislature’s website at www.njleg.state.nj.us and on Treasury’s homepage at www.state.nj.us/treasury.
Contact: Jon Moran, 609-695-3481, ext. 121, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
II. Bills on the Governor’s Desk
Among the legislative flurry leading up the budget deadline, a number of bills have now passed both Houses, including these bills of interest to local government:
- 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. 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, or email@example.com.
- A-441/S-438, which will allow municipalities to designate redevelopment entities, including the municipality itself and certain non-profit entities, to act as a land bank. The League supports this permissive tool to assist redevelopment. . Contact: Mike Cerra, 609-695-3481x120 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- On Monday, the Senate gave final approval, by a 29-1 vote, A-1907/S-1011, 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. Contact: Mike Cerra, 609-695-3481x120 or email@example.com.
Very truly yours,
William G. Dressel, Jr.