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Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore Gordon Johnson

No timeline for vote on bill eliminating EOA carveouts

Johnson says he doesn’t know when Commerce Committee will vote on the measure

By Nikita Biryukov, June 21 2019 6:12 pm

Assemblyman Gordon Johnson, chair of the Commerce and Economic Development Committee, isn’t sure when the panel will vote on a bill eliminating carveouts inserted into the Economic Opportunity Act by Kevin Sheehan, a Parker McCay attorney with ties to South Jersey powerbroker George Norcross.

“I do not know,” Johnson said when asked about the timeline for a vote on A4730.

A4730 would eliminate a number of provisions in EOA that are so specific that they may refer only to select companies and locations in Camden, Norcross’s seat of power.

The committee took testimony on the bill last Thursday but did not hold a vote on the same. That day, it had only one other bill on its agenda.

The second bill would extend the two tax incentive programs cleared in the 2013 act for seven months. The programs are due to sunset on July 1.

Lawmakers sent the extension bill to Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk on this Thursday. The bill passed with supermajorities in both chambers.

Murphy has vowed to veto the extension if it was not coupled with reforms to the Economic Development Authority’s tax incentive programs, though he’ll likely wait the allotted 45 days before taking any action on the bill.

Johnson said those reforms wouldn’t come until his committee had held hearings with stakeholders and others on changes needed to the bills. It’s not clear when those meetings are set to begin.

The first meeting of the Senate Select Committee on Economic Growth Strategies, originally scheduled for nexet Monday, was postponed by Senate President Steve Sweeney on Friday.

Sweeney said he wanted the chamber to finish voting for the summer before those hearings began.

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