(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Wayne P. DeAngelo, Nancy Pinkin, and Cleopatra Tucker sponsored to fortify New Jersey’s five military installations advanced in the Senate on Thursday.
“Our military installations clearly play an important role when it comes to national defense, but when you consider the thousands of jobs tied to the military, the businesses that support the installations and the billions of dollars in revenue that the installations generate, the local economic significance of New Jersey’s military installations is irrefutable,” said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “Any legislation that supports our installations, therefore, will have a positive impact on our state as a whole.”
New Jersey’s military installations provide 45,631 direct jobs and 27,603 indirect jobs, according to the July 2015 Military Installation Growth and Development Task Force report. The bases add $6.5 billion of wealth to the state’s gross domestic product and create $9.6 billion in business revenues.
“These proposals are aimed at protecting the existing military facilities while expanding the ties between them, the surrounding communities and the businesses and workforce associated with the installations’ activities,” said DeAngelo. “We saw the impact that the closure of Fort Monmouth had on the state. We must do whatever we can to ensure that another base closure does not happen here.”
The bill (A-2514) would permit municipalities to enter into shared services agreements with military bases in New Jersey, as recommended by the task force report. A 2013 federal statute empowers military installations to enter into intergovernmental support agreements with state or local governments to provide, receive or share installation-support services where such agreements enhance mission effectiveness or create efficiencies or economies of scale, including cost reduction.
“Shared services between military installations and adjacent communities can alleviate budgetary pressures facing municipal governments,” said Pinkin (D-Middlesex). “Pooling resources ultimately will benefit taxpayers in these regions.”
“The federal government has created a pathway to a more efficient use of tax dollars, and New Jersey should take advantage of it,” said Tucker (D-Essex). “There’s no reason for those who live on a military base and residents of the community outside the base to have, for example, independent police forces, fire departments and public works personnel if sharing them is a viable, cost-cutting option.”
The measure was approved by the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee.
The bill received unanimous approval from the Assembly in May. It now heads to the Senate President for further consideration.