Jeff Tittel says the economic stimulus bill was designed to favor developers, which its legislative sponsor called ‘insane.’The state Sierra Club waded into the turmoil surrounding todayÂs corruption arrests by asking Gov. Jon S. Corzine to add pay-to-play bans to a pair of laws, including the economic stimulus bill.
Sierra Club New Jersey Chapter Director Jeff Tittel said the economic stimulus bill was designed to favor developers, though state Sen. Raymond J. Lesniak, the billÂs sponsor, offered a stinging retort, calling TittelÂs comments Âinsane.Â
Tittel said the corruption charges raise questions about the influence of developers on officials.
ÂWe donÂt even know the full extent of this yet,Â Tittel said.
Following corruption probe, Corzine cabinet member resigns
Tittel also called for a conditional veto of a bill reforming the oversight of public funding of private contracts, so that improvements can be made. He noted that the Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit program, as well as college and university development, was exempted from the requirements of the law, which was written in response to the failure of the EnCap Meadowlands development. The exemptions were added to the original draft of the bill.
Tittel noted that Hoboken and Jersey City both have transit hubs.
Lesniak (D-Union) denounced TittelÂs criticism, terming any attempt to link the stimulus bill with the arrests as Âpolitical demagoguery.Â
ÂThe leadership of the Sierra Club are against jobs,Â said Lesniak, who sponsored the stimulus bill in the Senate.
Lesniak said the bill, which provides tax incentives for economic development, would create tens of thousands of jobs. ÂThe sooner we get it going, the better,Â he said.
Lesniak said he wasnÂt unduly influenced by developers, but was influenced by the stateÂs rising unemployment rate.
ÂWe need to change the practices of the state so we promote job creation,Â Lesniak said.
E-mail Andrew Kitchenman at [email protected]r