Beach bar, energy sales tax exemption released from Senate environment committee

TRENTON – The Senate Environment and Energy Committee voted unanimously to release several bills this morning.

The following bills were released from the committee following little discussion:

Energy sales tax exemption

Senate lawmakers released legislation that would provide partial sales tax exemptions for energy and utility service for certain manufacturers.

The bill, S614, sponsored by Senate President Steve Sweeney, would provide a 50-percent sales tax exemption on retail sales of energy and utility service to a business that has at least 50 employees, of which at least half are directly employed in a manufacturing process, according to the legislation.

The annual loss of revenue is between $10 million and up to $42 million, according to the Office of Legislative Services. The executive estimate pegs the legislations at a $34.1 million annual loss, according to the bill’s fiscal note.

Atlantic City beach bar

Legislation that would allow Atlantic City’s newest casino to maintain an outdoor beach bar was released.

The bill, S1754, sponsored by Sen. Jim Whelan, (D-2), Atlantic City, was unanimously released by the committee.

The legislation would allow Revel casino to maintain a beach bar by eliminating requirements that the bar must have been in existence prior to Aug. 31, 2011 for purposes of qualifying for exemption from the state’s Noise Control Act.

Prescribed burn

Legislation that would authorize prescribed burning in certain circumstances passed.

The bill, S368, would establish a process for certifying individuals and landowners to conduct prescribed burns of forested and other undeveloped lands to prevent wildfires and accomplish other land management objectives, according to the legislation.

Flame retardant chemicals

The committee also released legislation that would limit the sale and manufacture of a type of flame retardant chemical in the state.

The bill, S1554, would put limits on the chemical decabromodiphenyl ether, which is used as a flame retardant in plastics for televisions, cabinets and other consumer electronics.

Advocates of the legislation argue the chemical is toxic and presents health risks.