The Assembly unanimously advanced a bill today that aims to reduce the burden of unemployment insurance taxes on employers.
Under the legislation, Sponsored by Assemblymember Roy Freiman (D-Somerset), corporation and gross income tax credits would be provided to small businesses. They would offset scheduled increases in unemployment insurance taxes and would transfer funds from the state’s general fund to its unemployment insurance fund to avoid additional charges to employers.
The bill would also reduce Contributions from employers to the unemployment insurance fund by 10 percent, and require them to contribute an amount equal to that reduction to New Jersey for administrative and transfer repayment costs.
During the voting sessionFreiman said the bill would help pay back an automatic federal loan for the general fund triggered by the deluge of residents who became unemployed due to the pandemic.
“This bill addresses two issues. One, it pays back that loan to prevent our residents from having to incur and our employers from having to incur that federal side of the tax increase,” Freiman said.
“This bill is widely supported because it’s smart and it approaches this issue and provides real relief,” Freiman said.
HAPPY THURSDAY AFTERNOON — Hi there, I’m Jonathan Custodio, your Playbook PM author. We’re adding New Jersey political trivia to this newsletter and will shout out one person who correctly answers the question in the following day’s edition.
Today’s shout out goes to Tom Egan for correctly answering that Donald DiFrancesco is the second longest-serving Senate President. Today’s question: Lt. Gov Sheila Oliver has an honorary doctorate from which county college? Who is the second longest-serving Senate President? Send answers and tips to [email protected].
We’re here with the latest from Trenton and elsewhere as New Jersey moves ahead in the budget process and the Legislature conducts hearings on Gov. Phil Murphy’s spending plan.
LOOKING FOR LIBERTY — A bill to redo Liberty State Park in Jersey City cleared a key Senate committee today, with amendments that tempered but did not fully satisfy criticism that the legislation could commercialize sections of New Jersey’s most-visited park.
The park, which overlooks the Statue of Liberty and the Lower Manhattan skyline, has been the subject of years of debate about how to best clean and improve it.
But attempts to overhaul the park have been complicated by the involvement of Reebok billionaire Paul Fireman, the owner of the nearby Liberty National Golf Club, which has been attempting to expand for years. Fireman has backed plans to place three new holes on the 22-acre Caven Point Peninsula. Language that could have enabled that expansion was slipped into a budget bill a few years ago before it was removed amid outcry.
Today, an architect working for the People’s Park Foundation — a newly created group that supports the bill — presenting a grand vision for the park to the Senate Environment and Energy Committee. The renderings included a community center with a pool, ballfields, a track, an amphitheater and community gardens and orchards.
The foundation, which paid for the renderings, is partly funded by Fireman, Nevins McCann, the group’s representative, confirmed.
During some two hours of testimony, no one opposed improving the park but environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, questioned the bill, which was introduced by Sen. Brian Stack (D-Hudson).
“A park is a place that is meant to be enjoyed by as many people as possible,” Stack told the committee.
His bill, NJ S2807 (22R), would give the park a quarter-billion dollars and put a task force in charge of how the money would be spent. The bill also called for the park to generate revenue to pay for its own upkeep. — Ry Rivard
COVID NUMBERS— New Jersey reported 2,519 confirmed positive Covid-19 tests and 16 deaths from the virus today.
SUPERFUND LAWSUIT — Acting General Matt Platkin and Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn LaTourette announced that the state has filed a lawsuit against Ford Motor Co. for polluting a mining area in Ringwood that encompasses the homeland of a Native American tribe.
New Jersey is seeking compensation for “lost natural resources” that include hundreds of acres of soil, groundwater and wetlands, along with punitive damages, charging that Ford negligibly discharged hazardous substances into the environment and hid the contamination.
“Today we hold Ford accountable for Natural Resource Damages — for knowingly polluting some of the State’s most precious environmental assets, then walking away without disclosing the toxic mess they had made or attempting to mitigate the,” Platkin said in a statement.
TWO MORE SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO DEPLOY ARMED SECURITY — NJ Advance Media’s Jackie Roman: “Two more New Jersey school districts will place armed security officers in their buildings in response to the Texas school shooting and other mass attacks that have shaken the nation, local officials said.
Howell Township in Monmouth County and Middle Township in Cape May County both recently approved plans to put armed officers in school buildings.
The districts join a growing list of New Jersey municipalities that have made plans to increase security or add armed police officers to schools in the wake of the school shooting in Texas.”
COURT SAYS SENTENCING GUIDELINES FOR YOUNG DEFENDANTS NOT RETROACTIVE — New Jersey Monitor’s Nikita Biryukov: “A 2020 law allowing judges to reduce the criminal sentences of defendants under the age of 26 does not apply to those rulings before its enactment, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled Thursday.
The high court rejected an appeal from Rahee Lane, who asked the court to retroactively apply the rule intended to cut short the sentences of young offenders. But the statute is ‘devoid of the slightest hint’ that the Legislature intended this specific mitigating factor to apply retroactively, Justice Anne Patterson wrote in the court’s opinion.”
— Asbury Park police are looking into social media posts advertising a pop-up party this weekend.
— Two Shore towns are deploying dogs to deal with their geese problems.
— Unionized casino workers in Atlantic City have authorized a strike if they don’t have a new contract by early July.