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(TRENTON) — Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Albert Coutinho, John Wisniewski, Jerry Green, Mila Jasey and L. Grace Spencer to extend until Oct. 30 the moratorium on the 2.5 percent nonresidential development fee meant to fund affordable housing was released Thursday by an Assembly panel.

“This fee is the last thing builders need as they continue to work to recover from the ongoing recession,” said Coutinho (D-Essex). “This moratorium will help create economic growth and spur job creation in the months ahead.”

“We need to protect the businesses the spark our economy as we fight through the recession,” said Wisniewski (D-Middlesex). “This is common sense legislation that is both pro-business and pro-worker because it will help spark job creation and economic expansion.”

The fee is slated to take effect again on July 1, but Assembly Democrats are seeking to extend the moratorium as they continue to work on plans to eliminate the ineffective state Council on Affordable Housing and reform the state’s affordable housing laws.

“We are committed to blowing up COAH,” said Green (D-Union/Middlesex/Somerset). “We will rid the state of the bureaucratic tangle it has created and implement a new law that will ensure housing is truly affordable across our state, but we will do this right, with input from everyone. I don’t want to be back here next year debating yet another affordable housing bill. I don’t want an endless court fight. I want a system that works.”

“We know our affordable housing laws need fixing, and we will continue working hard on accomplishing that goal, but in the meantime this moratorium is crucial to maintaining momentum as we move past the recession,” said Jasey (D-Essex). “It is the right thing to do for our businesses and workers.”

“We need to send a strong message to the businesses that employ our residents that we understand they’re continuing to try to work through this recession and the last thing we need is to reinstitute this fee,” said Spencer (D-Essex). “We continue to work on a new affordable housing plan, and that won’t be easy, but this one is a no-brainer.”

The bill was unanimously released by the Assembly Budget Committee and is expected to be considered Monday by the full Assembly.

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