PREVIEW – Senate To Vote On Economic Stimulus Bills Monday

TRENTON – The New Jersey State Senate is scheduled to meet on Monday to give final legislative approval to a package of economic stimulus bills intended to blunt some of the fiscal trauma the State faces as a result of the current economic crisis gripping the nation.

“Whether it’s struggling families or struggling businesses, these bills provide a broad range of assistance to help temper the blow of the continuing financial crisis,” said Senate President Richard J. Codey, D-Essex. “We can’t expect to solve a global crisis at the State level, but what we can do is find smart ways to direct our limited resources to those who need it most – the families fighting to get by on a daily basis, those clinging to their homes by a thread, and the businesses trying to survive and provide much needed jobs to our residents.”

The list of economic stimulus bills that the Senate will consider includes:

• S-1, sponsored by Senator Teresa Ruiz, D-Essex and Passaic, which expands funding for safety net programs such as food bank funding, home energy assistance and legal aid for New Jerseyans in economic distress;

• A Senate Committee Substitute for S-2 and S-2326, sponsored by Senators Dana Redd, D-Camden and Gloucester, Shirley K. Turner, D-Mercer, and Fred Madden, D-Gloucester and Camden, which would increase the income eligibility limit for the homestead property tax rebate program;

• A Committee Substitute for S-3 and S-1874, sponsored by Senate President Codey and Senate Majority Leader, Senator Steve Sweeney, D-Gloucester, Cumberland and Salem, which would eliminate the “throw out rule,” which requires businesses to claim income from out-of-State sales where an income tax is not imposed for the calculation of their New Jersey corporate business tax obligation;

• S-4, sponsored by Senate Budget Committee Vice Chair, Senator Paul A. Sarlo, D-Bergen, Essex and Passaic, and Senator Turner, which would establish the “Main Street Business Assistance Program” to help small to mid-sized businesses in New Jersey’s local communities deal with the effects of the national economic meltdown;

• S-5, sponsored by Senator Brian Stack, D-Hudson and Senator Turner, which would broaden the exemption that qualified small businesses receive from the Urban Enterprise Zone sales tax rebate program. The change would allow more small businesses to take advantage of the reduced sales tax within the UEZ at the point of sale, rather than having to file for a rebate with the State.

• A Senate Committee Substitute for S-6 and S-2213, sponsored by Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman, Senator Barbara Buono, D-Middlesex, Senator Jeff Van Drew, D-Cape May and Cumberland, and Senator Turner, which would encourage capital investment and job creation in New Jersey during the short term.

• S-8 and S-1599, sponsored by Senator Ronald L. Rice, D-Essex, and Senator Redd, which would appropriate federal funds for housing-related purposes and create the Mortgage Stabilization and Housing Assistance and Recovery programs to provide relief to homeowners facing foreclosure in the State of New Jersey.

The Senate will also consider legislation sponsored by Senator Sandra Bolden Cunningham, D-Hudson, to simplify the State’s business employment incentive programs by allowing businesses to take the incentives as a credit against their corporate business tax obligation, as well as a measure sponsored by Senators Cunningham and Redd to expand home heating assistance for the economically-distressed.

The Senate session is scheduled to begin at 2:00 PM in the Senate Chambers, on the first floor of the Statehouse. In addition to the voting session, the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee will meet at 10:00 AM in Committee Room 4 of the Statehouse Annex for a hearing on the State’s investment policy, and the Economic Growth Committee will meet at 10:30 AM in Committee Room 1 of the Annex to consider bills dealing with the Urban Transit Hub Credit program and local redevelopment and housing laws.