Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Here's the latest on two major issues in Trenton

If you're wondering what's going on (or not) in Trenton on two big issues--Transportation Trust Fund and the state worker pension ballot question--you'll find a good update on both below. It was sent by Tony Russo (CICNJ's man in Trenton) to members of the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey.

Good morning:

Here is the latest from Trenton.......

Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) (i.e., gasoline tax)

·       The stalemate continues over a proposed increase in the gasoline tax.  Last week, the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee cleared legislation which would do the following:
1.     Raise the gasoline tax an additional 23 cents per gallon bringing the total per gallon to 37.5 cents (diesel tax would also increase)
2.    Phase out the estate tax over a four year period.  Taxable threshold in 2017 would be raised to $2 million (from $675,000)
3.    Raise the earned income tax credit to 40% of federal benefit
4.    Allows veterans to exempt $3,000 of personal income from state income tax
5.    Allows for a $250 income tax credit for those earning less     than $100,000...called the personal motor fuel tax deduction
6.    Increases the pension & retirement income exclusion from state income taxes to $100,000

·       The Senate version does not include the 1% sales tax cut supported by the Governor and Assembly in June.....Meaning the Assembly would need to vote again on the measure and as of today no Assembly session has been scheduled and

·      The Governor is already on record saying the measure is "dead on arrival".  He wants more "tax fairness" in the bill

·       So the issue becomes whether the Senate and Assembly have the votes to override a veto by the Governor.  The magic numbers are 27/40 votes in Senate and 54/80 votes in Assembly.  Not sure the votes are there to override a veto

To view the Senate version of the measure see here

Pension Question Amendment

·        If the Senate does not act by August 8th on a resolution to add a question to November's ballot about mandating pension payments, the measure will be delayed for another year

·        If the measure makes the ballot, voters will be asked to amend our state constitution to require quarterly pension payments

·     While CIANJ supports funding our state pension system, we do not support amending our State Constitution to accomplish the goal.  CIANJ believes doing so will lead to higher taxes and cuts in services


·        The Senate cleared legislation allowing for unemployment compensation during labor disputes. The measure now heads to the Assembly for consideration.  CIANJ opposed the measure.  To view the bill see here

·        On August 8, Senate Committees will focus on higher education, the environment and hand guns.  The focus on higher ed will be college loans while the Senate Environment & Energy Committee will focus on regulating recycling industries.  A public hearing will be held dealing with the issue of carrying hand guns in New Jersey.

As always, I am available to discuss any of these matters in more detail.  Enjoy your summer and thanks for your membership.

Anthony Russo
Executive Vice President- Government Affairs & Communications
Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey
61 South Paramus Road
Paramus, New Jersey 07652
Phone # 201-368-2100
Fax # 201-368-3438
Cell # 908-415-4597 

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