Lesniak seeks changes to Economic Opportunity Act

TRENTON – A bill that would overhaul the way the state gives corporate subsidies, and which has spurred controversial debate on the floors of both houses faces, another hurdle today in the Senate.

The legislation, dubbed the New Jersey Economic Opportunity Act, faces yet another uphill battle in the upper chamber today as one of its Senate sponsors is seeking amendments to the proposal in the hours leading up to a vote.

Any changes made by Sen. Ray Lesniak, (D-20), and voted on by the full Senate would require the bill to, again, head to the Assembly for a vote.

The hurdle, says Assembly sponsor Albert Coutinho, (D-29), has the potential to derail the bill.

“At this point in time, we need to move the bill as is because I will not have support in the Assembly to move it before the lame duck session,” Coutinho said.

“I cannot bring back the bill for the third time to my house and get it done,” he said. “While I am not against the amendments, what I am against is it would require it to go back to my house for a third vote … and I would not have support.”

Coutinho told PolitickerNJ he is in the process of working with the Senate president and other senators, including Lesniak, to get the bill, A3680, out of the Senate today without any amendments.

“I have the greatest respect for Sen. Lesniak,” Coutinho said, adding, “But I would have to do this in lame duck after the elections, where we would probably have to renegotiate the entire bill.”

Lesniak was declining to comment on the legislation ahead of the 2 p.m. scheduled Senate session, saying by phone Monday that he will wait to make a statement on the Senate floor.

Coutinho says hundreds of millions of dollars are on hold as businesses wait on the outcome of this bill. Lesniak seeks changes to Economic Opportunity Act