Senate Budget panel releases date-change bill on elections

TRENTON – The Senate Budget Committee passed several bills including one to change the general election date to the date of the special election for U.S. Senate, one regulating unsightly and unwanted signs, and one dealing with the tax impact on towns that lose major ratable.

S2858: Changes date of 2013 general election from Nov. 5 to Oct. 16. It passed without discussion along party lines.

The courts have rebuffed an attempt to have the special election moved to the general election date. This legislative move is another bid to merge the two elections.

S2882:  A related measure, this requires opportunity to vote early in person using paper ballots on Oct. for both general election and U.S. Senate vacancy candidates. It also passed along party lines.

S2595: This bill would establish the “Corporate Disinvestment Property Tax Relief Act” municipal aid program to alleviate the property tax impact of the departure of a major business from the municipality.

Sponsor Sen. Ron Rice said that bill was spurred by the departure of Nutley’s largest ratable, Roche Pharmaceuticals.  “The impact of the taxes has become tremendous,’’ he said.

Roche’s departure cost the town about $9 million in taxes as well as about 1,000 jobs.

Sen. Anthony Bucco said he couldn’t back this bill because the overriding issue is to stop taxing companies so much so that they will decide to remain in New Jersey.

Rice said the reality is that if the state does not pass these kinds of bills in the interim the impact will be very devastating on infrastructure, foreclosures, and services in municipalities.

Chair Sen. Paul Sarlo, who represented Nutley before Rice did, said Nutley did everything in its power to keep Roche from leaving.

The bill passed 8-5 along party lines.

S124: This bill prohibits any person from posting an advertisement on property located within a municipality without the prior written permission of the owner.

It provides an exception for any temporary advertisement for real estate open houses.

Sponsor Sen. Ron Rice said the bill is directed toward certain consumer-oriented 800-number type signs. The bill is about consumer protections and cleaning up eyesore signs.

It passed unanimously.

Senate Budget panel releases date-change bill on elections