Tax-break, jobs bills approved in Senate

TRENTON – The Senate passed a package of tax break and jobs bills Thursday, including the New Jobs for New Jersey program and a small-business loan guarantee program.

S1263/A1271: Passed 22-14. Allows a corporation business tax credit and gross income tax credit for wages paid to interns in tax years 2013 and 2014.

The bill allows credits in amounts equal to 40 percent of the pay or $60, whichever is less.  Taxpayers that employ three or more interns in a tax year receive a $75 bonus per intern.  On an annual basis, the bill limits the combined credits to 5,250 qualified interns or 700 taxpayers, whichever limitation is triggered first. 

S2211: Passed 23-10. This bill establishes a New Jobs for New Jersey tax credit program small private-sector employers who increase their workforce by hiring unemployed workers.

The bill makes an employer of 100 or fewer full-time employees eligible for the tax credit against the corporation business tax or the gross income tax, whichever applies to the employer, for each eligible individual employed by the employer on a full-time basis during a tax year.

The Office of Legislative Services warned this bill could lead to a “significant but indeterminate” decrease in revenue.

S2404: Passed 36-0 Eliminates the 10 percent surcharge on employer unemployment insurance taxes during fiscal year 2014.

The Office of Legislative Services estimated this bill would reduce state revenues by $300 million, and may require the state to borrow money from the federal government to provide unemployment benefits.

S2473: Passed 23-13 Establishes small-business loan guarantee program allowing such businesses to receive loan guarantees to support their capital purchases and operating expenses.

Sen. Anthony Bucco raised concerns about the bill’s inclusion of operating expenses. The same concerns were raised a few days earlier in Senate committee.

And Sen. Bob Singer said he would be more supportive if it could be directed more toward Sandy victims.

S2535: Passed 27-1  Increases benefit amounts under New Jersey earned income tax credit program to 25 percent of federal earned income tax credit amounts beginning in Tax Year 2013.

According to federal and state data, some 528,000 taxpayers received an average benefit of approximately $430 during 2010, the most recent year for which data are available.  Under the bill, the average benefit amount would grow to approximately $553, assuming a level number of participants.

Sen. Michael Doherty was the lone no vote.

Tax-break, jobs bills approved in Senate