GRAPEVINE ‘Feel-good initiatives’ on the way?

NJBIZ STAFF//May 25, 2014//

GRAPEVINE ‘Feel-good initiatives’ on the way?

NJBIZ STAFF//May 25, 2014//

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May is always a budget month in Trenton, and this year in particular, it’s not shaping up to be a very good one. Between the pension problem and the credit downgrades, there’s not a lot of good news in the Garden State.

Just wait for next month, says one source.

When the Legislature doesn’t have any money to spend, they look to champion cheap “feel-good initiatives” that often have serious implications for the business community, the source said.

“June is an interesting month,” the source said. “While there’s a lot of attention on the budget, we know there are sometimes things that have lied dormant (that) all of a sudden, pop up.”

And when they do “pop up,” these often ideologically driven measures have the potential to move very swiftly with the right number of votes, the source said.

This year, bills that fit the mold include “ban-the-box” or even possibly, the statewide paid sick leave push.

“You have to be very vigilant during the month of June,” the source added.

Millionaires tax on the horizon?

With the shape the budget is in for the current fiscal year alone, there has been a lot a chatter among the state’s Democratic leadership of bringing back a so-called “millionaires tax,” or a surcharge on New Jersey’s wealthiest residents.

Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford) and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Secaucus) already have chimed in about it.

But if you think it might actually have some legs this time, you might want to think again.

One source says that for the business community, the tax is essentially a “non-starter” given that the state’s top taxpayers already pay much more than those at the bottom.