“Green” building tax credit bill advances

TRENTON – The Senate Budget Committee released two bills Tuesday dealing with tax credits for “green’’ buildings and county utility authorities funding improvements.

S2844/A4232:  This bill would permit county utilities authorities to fund improvements to county infrastructure through the authority’s undesignated fund balance or unreserved retained earnings.  Any such infrastructure improvements shall only be made by written agreement between the authority and the governing body of the county.

Sponsor Sen. Donald Norcross said this would be a pilot for Camden, Gloucester and Union counties and in addition, towns in those counties that are not part of the specific utility in question in those counties cannot access those funds.

The original bill would have affected all counties, and the three counties in the pilot expressed interest in participating, Sen. Paul Sarlo said, who added he had had concerns over the original bill including all counties and perhaps running the risk of exhausting surplus and having nothing in case an event like Superstorm Sandy occurred again.

It was released largely along party lines with Democrats supporting it and Republicans abstaining.

S2121: This bill, the “Green Building and Infrastructure Tax Credit Act,” provides tax credits toward the corporation business tax, gross income tax, and other taxes for developers and owners who design and construct buildings that meet certain “green building” criteria. 

The tax credits provided by the bill would be available for seven years.  The total of all credits which could be allocated in the first fiscal year after enactment would be no more than $20 million. 

In each of the subsequent six fiscal years, up to $50 million of credit allocations may be authorized per year, and any unused allocable amounts may roll over to subsequent fiscal years.  An eligible taxpayer may apply no more than 20 percent of their total tax credit in any tax year.

It passed largely along party lines with most Republicans abstaining and Sen. Jennifer Beck supporting it.

A bill that would have allowed an imposition of a fee on so-called “safety net” hospitals treating the neediest patients in order to leverage matching federal money was not considered.

Sponsor and Chair Sen. Paul Sarlo said it would not be considered in the lame-duck session because it needs more work.

Earlier today, a coalition of N.J. mayors – including Senate candidate and Newark Mayor Cory Booker – called for passage of the bill.

The fee, which could be capped at 5.47 percent, would have been imposed on hospitals in Newark, Camden and Jersey City as part of a pilot program.

“Green” building tax credit bill advances