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February 11, 2009

Re:      Senate Action on Stimulus Divergent Bills Go To Conference Committee

Dear Mayor:

Yesterday, the U.S. Senate passed H.R. 1, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The vote was 61-37 with Republican Senators Olympia Snowe (ME), Susan Collins (ME), and Arlen Specter (PA) joining Independent Senators Bernie Sanders (VT) and Joe Liebermann (CT) and the 56 Democrats in supporting the $838 billion bill’s passage. (New Hampshire’s Republican Senator Judd Gregg, President Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Commerce, did not vote and the results of the Minnesota Senate race remain in question.)

The House and Senate will go to conference immediately to reconcile differences between their bills with the goal of getting it to the President by week’s end.

Please contact Senators Lautenberg and Menendez and your Congressman and urge them to support fast action on a bill that is needed to provide stimulus and support to municipalities all around our Garden State. Also, contact Governor Corzine and your State Legislators and urge them to maximize funding for local programs and services. State Street needs to focus on the needs of New Jersey’s Main Streets and our property taxpayers.

If you access this letter at our website (www.njslom.com) you can see a chart, provided to us by the National League of Cities (NLC) comparing the House and Senate versions of the spending provisions of the bill. We should soon have a chart with the tax provisions and will send that to you as soon as we can. Several programs in the Senate bill were cut as a result of the Collins/Nelson amendment approved yesterday; those programs are highlighted in the chart and include the Neighborhood Stabilization program, the Byrne JAG program, as well as education and health programs. 

Also, we are in the process of preparing a letter to the House and Senate conferees that outlines our priorities and concerns with the measures as they move forward. We will share that letter with you as soon as it is finalized.

We have a ways to go, but thanks for all of your efforts in helping us reach this important milestone.

Very truly yours,

 

William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director

 

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