Yesterday, Assemblyman Vincent Polistina?s motion to relieve stalled legislation related to commercial developments that were retroactively assessed a fee under the new affordable housing law was tabled by Democrats during the Assembly?s voting session. The bill has seen no action by the Housing and Local Government Committee since its introduction last September. Essentially, the proposal provides a remedy for non-residential developers who had obtained site plan approval prior to Governor Corzine signing the new affordable housing law last July, but were nevertheless levied a two and one-half percent surcharge on their project if they had not obtained a certificate of occupancy.

?It is patently unfair to levy a fee on commercial developers who had ostensibly obtained all necessary site plan approvals to build, but had not completed their project prior to the signing of the affordable housing law,? stated Polistina, R-Atlantic. ?My motion to free the bill is an effort to amend a law which contains a tax provision that, in effect, kills jobs.

?The potential fallout of this assessment is that viable projects may be abandoned because the developer cannot afford or does not want to pay the additional cost and eventually looks elsewhere to build,? said Polistina. ?That translates into lost construction jobs and permanent jobs that would have been created upon completion of the project. It will also result in a missed opportunity for municipalities to attract another revenue stream. This amendment would help stop driving business out of New Jersey.

?While the action by the Democrats to table my motion is not surprising, it is just another example of the anti-business climate that has pervaded Trenton for too long,? continued Polistina. ?To retroactively tax a business that committed to a project, in many cases built the facility, but had not obtained a certificate of occupancy, is what earns New Jersey its low ranking in the business community.?

The measure, A-3148, was sponsored by Polistina and Assemblyman John Amodeo, R-Atlantic. It would amend the current law by allowing builders that had ostensibly received all necessary approvals prior to July 17, 2008, to apply for a refund of the fee they were assessed after the law was enacted.

?The repercussions of yesterday?s vote to suppress our proposal sends a message to businesses that if you operate here, be prepared to pay and pay,? remarked Amodeo. ?And with that approach we will continue to lose jobs to other states. That is a consequence of the law signed last July. There is an opportunity to correct this impropriety, but it continues to be bottled up by our colleagues on the other side of the aisle.?


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