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2023 New Jersey Women Business Leaders Forum REGISTER

Budget hearings have dominated the legislative calendars of late. But the Legislature returns on Monday for its more typical committee voting sessions.

With their return, NJBIA is highlighting some of its highest priority bills – budget-related and beyond.

“During the Legislature’s short break, we have continued to work with policymakers on bringing more relief to business as part of the budget – and on priority bills that are important to the business community,” NJBIA Chief Government Affairs Officers Chrissy Buteas said.

“We have also devoted even more time to recommending workplace safety provisions with the Cannabis Regulatory Commission, improving professional licensing delays, getting more support in the budget to address workforce challenges, and a whole host of other matters,” Buteas added.

S-330/A-3804: Helps reduce property taxes by increasing distribution to municipalities from the Energy Tax Receipts Property Tax Relief Fund.

Sponsors: Scutari (D-22); Singleton (D-7); Benson (D-14); Moriarty (D-4)

NJBIA Position: Supports

Status: Passed the Senate; Referred to Assembly Community Development and Affairs Committee

Why it’s important? The proposed ANCHOR Property Tax Relief Program is expected to bring $900 million in property tax relief for certain residents and renters. But it offers no relief to business owners, which pay nearly half of New Jersey’s property taxes.  This bill would recapture more than $330 million of lost municipal aid, providing tax relief to businesses and residents.

S-733/A-2152: Simultaneously saves employers more than $300 million in unemployment insurance tax increases, as well as pay off a federal UI loan to avoid any unnecessary interest payments.

Sponsors: Madden (D-4); Singleton (D-7); Greenwald (D-6); Chaparro (D-33)

NJBIA Position: Supports

Status: Advanced by Senate Labor Committee

Why it’s important: New Jersey businesses are facing a nearly $1 billion increase in unemployment insurance taxes and Gov. Phil Murphy has refused to follow the lead of most states that used federal recovery funds to replenish their unemployment insurance trust funds.

This bill would save employers more than $336 million in UI tax increases by blocking increases in the columns that determine payroll tax rates. A smaller amount of federal funds would be used to pay down interest on a federal UI loan.

A-3683/S-2378: Provides tax credits to small businesses to offset increase in State Unemployment Insurance contributions.

Sponsors: Freiman (D-16), Greenwald (D-6), Tully (D-38), Gopal (D-11), Zwicker (D-16)

NJBIA Position: Supports

Status: Passed the Assembly Labor Committee & Senate Labor Committee

Why it’s important: NJBIA supports this small business tax credit as a way for the state to offset an unfair tax increase on jobs that is only happening because of the state-ordered shutdown.

S-2389: Requires employers to retain a wide range of service employees for a period of 90 days following a change of ownership in their service contracts.

Sponsors: Singleton (D-7)

NJBIA Position: Opposes

Status: Referred to Senate Labor Committee

Why it’s important: This bill broadly defines services companies and covered locations and, by doing so, burdens a massive number of employers with an unfair mandate that basically takes away an employer’s right to ensure profitability.

Under the legislation, service employees include any non-managerial or professional employee who works 16 hours or more per week in connection with the care or maintenance of a building or property.

This includes, but is not limited to security, front desk, maintenance, grounds maintenance, stationary fireman, elevator operators, window cleaners and janitorial service staff. At airports, it includes passenger-related security services, cargo related and ramp services, in-terminal and passenger handling and cleaning services. In schools, it includes food service workers.

A-2138: Establishes professional board to regulate home improvement and home elevation contractors and requires licensure for each type of contractor.

Sponsors: Moriarty (D-4); Mukherji (D-33)

NJBIA Position: Seeking amendments

Status: Referred to Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee

Why it’s important: This bill could drastically alter the construction industry by creating a licensure process for home improvement and home elevation contractors.

As there are thousands of New Jersey home improvement contractors that complete a wide range of projects, from minor improvements such as painting a room to larger projects such as constructing additions on homes, this legislation may limit the ability of certain contractors with a particular area of expertise from obtaining licensure.

S-2477/S-2478/S2479: Part of a comprehensive, $350 million childcare bill package aiming to address the needs of providers, employees and parents.

Sponsor: Ruiz (D-29)

NJBIA Position: Supports

Status: Publicly announced, but awaiting formal introduction

Why it’s important: The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted existing challenges within the state’s childcare system and underscored how childcare is tied to the economy and success of New Jersey businesses.

The bill package will provide critical assistance by way of tax incentives and grant opportunities to childcare providers and employers.

S-1754: Directs Secretary of State to contract with qualified vendor to develop national marketing campaign promoting State’s innovation economy; appropriates $1,000,000.

Sponsor: Beach (D-6); Testa (R-1)

NJBIA Position: Supports

Status: Advanced by Senate State Government Committee

Why it’s important: NJBIA worked to have this bill amended to include promotion of manufacturing, which is also facing workforce pipeline issues. The more people can know about the benefits of good paying manufacturing jobs, many of which don’t require a college degree, the better.

S-659/A-2014: Establishes the Manufacturing in Higher Education Act

Sponsor: Oroho (D-24); Greenstein (D-14); Conaway (D-7); Wirths (R-24)

Status: Referred to Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee

NJBIA Position: Supports

Why it’s important: Again, manufacturing careers are viable, achievable and very much available. This bill will put a framework to improve the quality of the manufacturing workforce.

A-1747: Establishes a Prescription Drug Affordability Board that would place price controls on the pharmaceutical industry

Sponsor: McKeon (D-27)

NJBIA Position: Opposes

Status: Advanced by Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee

Why it’s important: While the legislation is well-intentioned, it fails to comprehensively address patient out-of-pocket drug costs, while individually penalizing a pharmaceutical industry that is so crucial to New Jersey’s economy.

NJBIA also maintains that by failing to take a holistic, system-wide approach to reducing consumer costs, New Jersey would instead by sending a message to R&D companies that there are more attractive states to invest in.