PREVIEW – Senate Committees To Focus On Pro-Business, Pro-Worker Bills Monday

TRENTON – On Monday, Senate Committees will meet to consider measures which will improve the economic climate of New Jersey for businesses and guarantee that State workers’ benefits contributions cannot be diverted to other purposes.

S-2130, sponsored by Senate President Richard J. Codey, D-Essex, and Senate Budget Committee Chair, Senator Barbara Buono, D-Middlesex, which would extend the carry-forward provision for net-operating losses in the State’s corporate business tax (CBT), from 7 years to 20 years, will be up for consideration in the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee at 1:00 PM.

According to the bill sponsors, the change in the net-operating loss standards has been advocated by the business community, and would bring New Jersey in line with neighboring states which levy a corporate business tax. The new 20-year carry-forward provision would allow for a more accurate, broader picture of corporate start-up costs and business growth, they said.

“At the very least, from an economic standpoint, this bill will put us on par with other states, particularly our surrounding neighbors,” said Senate President Codey. “Hopefully it will encourage new businesses to set up shop here, help keep some of our struggling businesses in state and promote further investment.”

The Senate Budget panel will also consider SCR-60, a constitutional amendment sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Steve Sweeney, D-Gloucester, Cumberland and Salem, which would protect workers’ benefits contributions – into funds like the unemployment insurance (UI) fund, the second injury fund, the temporary disability insurance fund and the new fund established to provide “paid family leave” benefits. The amendment, which is also sponsored by Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr., R-Union, would guarantee that any contributions collected from employers and employees to fund workers benefits could not be diverted for other purposes, such as plugging holes in the State budget. In the past, both Republican and Democratic administrations have diverted funds from the UI fund, and last year, New Jersey was forced to come up with a funding infusion to shore up the account and avoid a business tax increase, Senator Sweeney said.

“Employee benefits cannot be used by State Government as a personal piggy bank to fund budgetary gimmicks or economic slight-of-hand,” said Senator Sweeney. “New Jersey’s workers and employers contribute to these funds with a reasonable expectation that, God forbid they ever need it, extra help will be there. By prohibiting the raiding of employee benefits funds, we’re ensuring that the contributions made by both employees and employers in New Jersey will be used for their intended purpose – as a safety net in the event of unemployment, injury or family emergency.”

In addition to the two measures up for consideration in the Senate Budget Committee, the Senate Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee will discuss, but not vote on, S-1987, a bill sponsored by the Committee Chair, Senator Jim Whelan, D-Atlantic, which would give casino employees the ability to run for local office. Currently, casino employees, as well as their family members and business associates, are barred from serving in an elected position on the Atlantic City Council or as Mayor. The sponsor noted that this bill is a matter of fairness for casino workers, and “speaks to the very issue of representative government which our country was founded on.”

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE SENATE COMMITTEE AGENDAS FOR OCTOBER 6, 2008

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