TRENTON – The Senate took up bills Thursday that were conditionally vetoed during the year, including the extensive makeover of tax incentive programs – The Economic Opportunity Act – that won Assembly concurrence on Monday following that day’s conditional veto.
It passed the Senate 35-1 today on concurrence. Sen. Michael Doherty was the lone no vote.
Gov. Chris Christie issued his CV of the bill that whittles five jobs and business programs to two, expands eligibility to more Southern New Jersey towns, and – according to some critics – places some Highlands areas at environmental risk.
Christie removed from the bill two items: prevailing wage protections for maintenance employees and opportunities to re-use old hospital sites.
When the bill – A3680 – was last before the Senate, Sen. Ray Lesniak ripped it for shortchanging affordable housing efforts, but Assembly sponsors warned that further changes would render it impassable in the lower chamber.
Then today Lesniak reiterated his concerns that it was a flawed bill that now has even more flaws with the CV message.
He was especially concerned with the prevailing wage issue and said maintenance workers deserve a living wage.
“Secondly, this bill does nothing for affordable housing,’’ he said, and the bill ensures none will be built out of fear it will drive up cost.
But he acknowledged that in order to compete with the Carolinas, Texas, other states as well as foreign countries, New Jersey needs to take steps to make the state competitive and he urged concurrence.