New Jersey State Bar Association - The voluntary Bar Association of New Jersey, serving members since 1899.

Capitol Report

February 9, 2009

By Valerie L. Brown and Tamika Wilson

This is a status report on recently passed and pending legislation and regulations, gubernatorial nominations and appointments of interest to lawyers. It is compiled by the legislative department of the New Jersey State Bar Association. Following each bill is the number, sponsor's name, the NJSBA position, if any, bill description and status.

This Capitol Report focuses on legislative activity to address New Jersey's economic and housing foreclosure crisis. Since the fall, the administration has taken swift and decisive action to pass a number of pro-business laws.

NEW LAWS

P.L.2008, c.86 (Cohen) Provides a period of extension for repayment of introductory rate mortgages on residential property under certain circumstances. Signed by the governor on Sept. 15, 2008. (A-2780)

This new law extends from seven to 20 years the number of tax years in which corporation business taxpayers can deduct from taxable income net operating losses sustained in previous tax years. The change is applicable to net operating losses realized in privilege periods ending after June 30, 2009.

P.L.2008, c.102 (Codey) Increases the carryover period of net operating loss deduction under the corporation business tax. Signed by the governor on Nov. 24, 2008. (S-2130)

P.L.2008, c.104 (Watson Coleman) Appropriates $12,500,000 from the Long Term Obligation and Capital Expenditure Fund and $51,471,000 in federal funds for housing-related purposes. Signed by the governor on Dec. 1, 2008. (A-3459)

This law appropriates $12,500,000 from the Long Term Obligation and Capital Expenditure Fund to the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) and the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC). The DCA will receive $12,000,000 in grant-in-aid funds to provide mediation and counseling opportunities through the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency. The AOC will receive $500,000 to provide mediation services prior to foreclosure proceedings.

P.L.2008, c.104 also appropriates $51,471,000 in federal funds to the DCA that have been awarded to New Jersey pursuant to Title III of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program.

P.L.2008, c.112 (Milam) Establishes the InvestNJ Business Grant Program in the New Jersey Economic Development Authority to stimulate certain capital investment and job creation in New Jersey during a limited period, makes appropriations. Signed by the governor on Dec. 9, 2008. (A-3294)

This law allows several employers with as few as five employees to receive up to $3,000 for each new employee hired and retained for one year, and a seven percent rebate for any major equipment purchased.

P.L.2008, c.113 (Wagner) Makes FY 2009 supplemental appropriations totaling $22,500,000 to provide food, energy and legal aid assistance to individuals and families under the New Jersey Economic Assistance and Recovery Plan. Signed by the governor on Dec.12, 2008. (A-3374)

This law appropriates that $9.2M for the Trial Services to Indigents and Special Programs program classification shall be used to provide legal services to homeowners and tenants in civil matters related to financial distress, including, but not limited to, mortgage foreclosure, bankruptcy, debt collection and eviction; provided, however, that no more than five percent of the amount appropriated shall be used for management and administrative expenses unrelated to direct client services. The Community Health Law Project would receive $300,000.

P.L.2008, c.117 (Schaer) Establishes the Main Street Business Assistance Program; appropriates $50 million. Signed by the governor on Dec. 16, 2008. (A-3377)

This law establishes the Main Street Business Assistance Program to provide guarantees and loans to small and mid-sized businesses and not-for-profit corporations on an expedited basis for a period not to exceed two years, to stimulate the economy. The bill appropriates $50 million for this purpose.

P.L.2008,c.118 (Vas) Broadens the small qualified business exception under the Urban Enterprise Zone Sales Tax Rebate Program. Signed by the governor on Dec. 17, 2008. (A-2720)

This law broadens the small qualified business exception under the UEZ sales tax rebate program to businesses that have less than $10 million in annual gross receipts.

P.L.2008,c.119 (Moriarty) Increases the income eligibility limit for the homestead property tax reimbursement program. Signed by the governor on Dec. 18, 2008. (A-3460)

Under this new law, the income eligibility limits for the homestead property tax reimbursement program beginning in tax year 2007 for certain qualified senior and disabled homeowners will increase from $45,135, if single, and $55,344 (combined income) for married couples to $60,000 in tax year 2007; to $70,000 in tax year 2008; and to $80,000 in tax year 2009, whether single or married. This increase in the income limits is designed to ensure that additional seniors will benefit from this program.

P.L.2009, c.12 (Burzichelli) Eliminates cancellation of charges against employer unemployment insurance accounts for benefits exceeding 50 percent of the total base year, base week wages. Signed by the governor on Jan. 27, 2009. (A-2457)

This law is necessary because of a finding by the U.S. Department of Labor that the current provision of the New Jersey law cancelling charges against an employer's account for benefits exceeding 50 percent of the total base year, base week wages violates the requirements of the federal unemployment tax act. That federal law prohibits any provision of a state law that results in employers whose employees are paid identical amounts of benefits from being charged differently.

NOTICES

Advocacy Town Hall Meeting
The NJSBA Advocacy Town Hall Meeting has been rescheduled for Wednesday, March 4, 2009, at the War Memorial in Trenton, in the Delaware Room from 9 a.m.-1 p.m

The purpose of this event is to:

  • Advance legislation and regulations to support NJSBA members
  • Hear from key lawmakers and legislative staffers about how to increase NJSBA's effectiveness
  • Identify and vocalize your advocacy concerns

You can now register online for this event at www.njsba.com

Staff Changes
Valerie Brown, who has served as legislative counsel for the State Bar Association, recently announced her resignation, effective Feb. 10, 2009, to accept a new government relations position at Legal Services of New Jersey.

Note: "Under review by the NJSBA" means that the bill is currently being examined by NJSBA sections, committees and/or Board of Trustees and a final position has not yet been reached on the measure.