Lesniak-championed economic stimulus bill passes

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TRENTON – If Senate President Richard Codey (D-Roseland) has dominated some early moments of this senate budget session,the Democratic Party's other power centerrises late in the evening here and sells his economic stimulus bill.

"It will spur billions of dollars in economic development," Lesniak says ofthe tough timesdocument he fashioned, which, among other things, channels $15 million into affordable housing projects.

While quibbling with some of the bill's provisions, Sen. Joe Kyrillos (R-Middletown) mostly likes this stimulus, including the provision which gives developers two-decades worth of substantial tax revenue created by their projects.

But there are more strenuous objectors.

"You can call it what you want, but it's a Christmas Tree gift," complains state Sen. Marcia Karrow (R-Flemington).

There are some smooches swapped in the gallery among attendant labor reps, who leave after the bill passesonce Codey asks the clerk to open the machines.

The final tally in favor of the bill: 23 to 14.

Those suburban mayors who had hoped for a Council on Afforable Housing (COAH) overhaul had to be crestfallen with the bill's temporary stay on a 2.5% tax on all commercial development to go toward affordable housing.

Lesniak-championed economic stimulus bill passes