Weekly Advance: Week of Dec. 17

TRENTON – Democrats want to unwrap packages early this Christmas.

On Monday, the Assembly will vote on more than 15 bills the majority party hopes will become gifts for business owners and job-seekers next year.

But will all or some of the proposals, timed to take effect during a gubernatorial election year, ever make their way out from under the tree, or will the governor essentially rewrap them with the use of a veto pen?

When many of these bills were dealt with this past week in the Assembly Budget Committee, from one proposal to the next, the debate fell along similar lines.

Democrats pointed to various bills’ tax credits or program grants and saw job creators.

Republicans pointed out loopholes (tax credit money that exits the state) or past abuses (tying a grant eligibility to the free and reduced price lunch program) and saw problems.

“I see a lot of motion here, but not much progress,’’ said Jay Webber, (R-26), Parsippany.

But committee Chair Vincent Prieto, (D-32), Secaucus summarized the urgency of post-Sandy New Jersey:  “Our economy was lagging behind the rest of the nation. We have to give businesses the tools to grow.”

If floor debate occurs on some of these proposals Monday, expect it to track those themes.

Among the bills, some of which have been around the block before, are A3580, known as the Back to Work NJ bill. It would provide workplace training for unemployment compensation recipients; A1084, the Angel Investor Tax Credit Act, which would offer credits on corporation or income taxes for investing in emerging technology businesses; and A955, the Workforce Shortage Loan Redemption Program, to benefit participants in fields in which there is a shortage of qualified labor.

As if there wasn’t enough fodder for partisan rhetoric in those bills, don’t forget that the minimum wage hike effort is before the Assembly as well on Monday.

This will be ACR168, the constitutional amendment proposal that would elevate the minimum wage to $8.25. 

Senate President Steve Sweeney has vowed that if the governor vetoes the legislative proposal when it gets to him, then he will pursue Plan B: putting the question directly to the voters.

And the Senate has its own voting session on Thursday, which among other things is expected to include confirmation of Gov. Chris Christie’s Banking and Insurance Department nominee, Ken Kobylowski, who has been doing the job as acting commissioner for some time.

Committee action

On the same day the full Assembly is in session, several Senate committees will take up a variety of bills, including:

The Labor Committee will hear S2188, which would require employer notification when relocating call centers outside the United States.

The Budget Committee will hear S1758, which would require the Department of Human Services to treat earned and unearned income in the same manner when calculating eligibility of parents and caretakers for the NJ FamilyCare program.

The Commerce Committee will take up S523, which would increase penalties on violators of precious metals laws.

The Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee will deal with S2224, which would delete outdated and offensive language from statutes that concern people with disabilities.

The Environment and Energy Committee will hear S2121, which would provide tax credits for developers and owners involved with buildings that meet so-called “green building’’ criteria.

And the Transportation Committee will deal with S2085, another tax credit bill, this one a sales tax credit on compressed natural gas in certain buses.

 

Monday

Gov. Chris Christie

Not yet scheduled

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno

Not yet scheduled

Legislature

Senate

10 a.m., Environment and Energy Committee, Rm. 10, Statehouse Annex, Trenton

10:30 a.m., Transportation Committee, Rm. 7, Statehouse Annex, Trenton

11 a.m., Labor Committee, Rm. 6, Statehouse Annex, Trenton

11:30 a.m., Budget and Appropriations Committee, Rm. 4, Statehouse Annex, Trenton

1 p.m., Commerce Committee, Rm. 6, Statehouse Annex, Trenton

1 p.m., Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee, Rm. 1, Statehouse Annex, Trenton

Assembly

1 p.m., Voting session, Assembly chambers, Statehouse, Trenton

Boards and Commissions

10:30 a.m., Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission, 2492 River Road, New Hope, Pa.

4 p.m., Site Remediation Professional Licensing Board, Department of Environmental Protection, 401 E. State St., Trenton

 

Tuesday

Gov. Chris Christie

Not yet scheduled

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno

Not yet scheduled

Legislature

Nothing scheduled

Boards and Commissions

10 a.m., Mosquito Control Commission, Department of Environmental Protection, 501 E. State St., Plaza 5, Trenton

11 a.m., Election Law Enforcement Commission, 28 W. State St., Trenton

 

Wednesday

Gov. Chris Christie

Not yet scheduled

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno

Not yet scheduled

Legislature

Nothing scheduled

Boards and Commissions

10 a.m., Delaware and Raritan Canal Commission, Prallsville Mills, 33 Risler St., Stockton

 

Thursday

Gov. Chris Christie

Not yet scheduled

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno

Not yet scheduled

Legislature

Senate

2 p.m., Voting session, Senate chambers, Statehouse, Trenton

Boards and Commissions

10 a.m., Health Care Administration Board, Market and Warren streets, Trenton

10 a.m., Health Care Facilities Financing Authority, Building 4, Station Plaza, South Clinton Avenue, Trenton

4:30 p.m., N.J. Law Revision Commission, seventh floor, 153 Halsey St., Newark

 

Friday

Gov. Chris Christie

Not yet scheduled

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno

Not yet scheduled

Legislature

Nothing scheduled

 

Weekly Advance: Week of Dec. 17