June 29, 2010
Re: I. State Budget
II. Statutory CAP Passes Governor Calls Special Session on CAP 2.5
III. Bills on the Governor’s Desk
Here are highlights of yesterday’s key developments related to the State Budget and other legislative activity.
I. FY ’11 State Budget Passes. Governor Expected to Sign Today.
In order to avoid a shut-down of State government services, an agreement among Governor Christie and Legislative Leaders from both Parties in both Houses, allowed a Republican sponsored Appropriations Act to advance, with minimal Democratic support.
The bill, which can be accessed at the Legislature’s website at http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2010/Bills/S3000/3000_I1.HTM included all of the Governor’s proposed $450 million municipal property tax relief funding cuts outlined in our March 16 letter - http://www.njslom.org/letters/ml031610-budget-message.html - and our March 17 letter - http://www.njslom.org/letters/ml031710-budget.html.
The Governor is scheduled to sign the budget at 1:00 P.M. today in South River.
II. Statutory 2.9% cap bill passes both Houses
Governor calls Special Session, Thursday, July 1, 10 AM.
Both the State Senate (on a 23-17 vote) and the General Assembly (on a 44-33 vote) approved S-29 (A-3065), which was sponsored by Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assemblyman and Mayor John McKeon. The bill now goes to the Governor for his consideration. For the specifics on this initiative, which lowers the current statutory levy cap from 4% to 2.9% see our June 25 letter at: http://www.njslom.org/letters/ml062510-2-9-cap.html.
As you know, the Governor has aggressively promoted a proposal to enact a 2.5% Constitutional Cap on the property tax levy. He has publicly criticized the statutory cap, and we anticipate that the Governor will either outright veto the statutory cap or will conditionally veto it to mirror his proposal.
In the meanwhile, the Governor has called for a Special Session of the Legislature to convene this Thursday, July 1st, at 10 AM. The Governor’s letter calls for the Legislature to consider the “Cap 2.5” proposal, including the 2.5% constitutional cap and the “toolkit” bills designed to lower managements costs for local governments. If the Governor’s cap proposal is not approved by both Legislative committees and placed at 2nd reading in both Houses by July 7, there will not be enough time to place it on the November ballot.
The League will be monitoring the Special session and will advise you of developments.
III. Bills on the Governor’s Desk
The following are bills that have passed both Houses and now await final consideration by the Governor:
A-559/S-1212 – Decreases certain public document copy fees; amount of fee dependent upon whether letter size page or legal size page. The League supports this bill which is in response to Smith v. Hudson County Register, 411 N.J. Super. 538 (App. Div. 2010). The court ruled that beginning July 1, 2010, unless and until the Legislature amends OPRA to specify otherwise or some other statute or regulation applies, public bodies could only charge the actual costs of copying. For more information on A-559/S-1212 please see our Dear Mayor letter of June 24th.
A-2911/S-2070 Requires transfer of municipal free library surplus amounts above 20% to municipality for its general purposes, which may include property tax relief. The League supports this bill which requires the transfer of municipal free library surplus amounts above 20% of its operating expenditures to municipality for its general purposes. The bill was amended to remove the tax levy exception for surplus amounts transferred to the municipality. For more information on A-2911/S-2070 please see our Dear Mayor letter of June 25th.
S-2077/A-2950 Eliminates minimum threshold for municipal calculation of reserve for uncollected taxes by alternate method when tax appeal judgments reduce the tax levy. The League supports this bill which would eliminate the threshold for county tax board and State tax court judgments against a municipality. For more information on S-2077/A-2950 please see our Dear Mayor letter of June 25th.
S-1804/A-3073 Authorizes any local unit to adopt an ordinance authorizing special emergency appropriations for the payment of contractually required severance liabilities, resulting from the layoff or retirement of employees, over 5 years. The League supports this bill which would permit municipalities to adopt an ordinance authorizing special emergency appropriations for the payment of contractually required severance liabilities, resulting from the layoff or retirement of employees. The bill was amended to change the pay back period to from 10 years to 5 years. For more information on S-1807/A-3073 please see our Dear Mayor letter of June 25th.
S-1828/A-2579 Requires Division of Taxation to regularly provide certain information to municipalities concerning hotel occupancy taxes. The League supports this bill which would require the Division of Taxation to annually provide municipalities with notification, with authorization to act as the collection agency, of non-payment of hotel occupancy taxes. In addition the municipality could impose a 5% per annum interest rate on unpaid occupancy taxes. For more information on S-1828/A-2579 please see our Dear Mayor letter of June 25th
Questions on any of the legislative activity can be directed to either Mike Cerra at 609-695-3481 x120, Jon Moran at 609-695-3481 x121 or Lori Buckelew at 609-695-3481 x112.
Very truly yours,
William G. Dressel, Jr.