Budget Debate: previously kicked-around bill resurfaces repackaged in 11th hour

TRENTON – The Senate Budget Committee this evening considered an amended bill (A-3459 in the Assembly) that at least one Statehouse veteran identified as a probable critical part of what Democrats hope to advance in exchange for Gov. Chris Christie ultimately having his way with the budget.

The bill, sponsored by state Sen. Jim Beach (D-6) in the Senate and Assemblyman Troy Singleton (D-7) in the Assembly, extends the application period for certain urban hope projects, permits reconstructed facilities as part of projects; and provides additional retirement benefits for certain PERS (Public Employees Retirement System) and TPAF (Teachers Pension and Annuity Fund) members in urban hope districts, and makes projects eligible for tax credits.

The bill only applies to school district employees, according to a source.

It initially included Camden, Newark and Trenton, but by the end will only contain Camden.

Members of the Senate Budget Committee were about to take up consideration of the bill a few moments ago prior to taking a recess.

The source pointed out that a variation of the bill has stalled for a period of time at the Statehouse.

The source said she knows the bill is important.

“There have been several iterations of this legislation that they have been unable to get through,” the source said, speculating that it’s an example of the kind of 11th hour proposal Christie will supply GOP votes for in exchange for Democrats letting the Republican governor beat hell out of them on the budget and feathering his own national political nest.

Budget Debate: previously kicked-around bill resurfaces repackaged in 11th hour