Legislation sponsored by three Assembly Democrats last session is being used for the first time in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Isaias. With thousands of out-of-state crews having traveled to New Jersey to assist with power restoration, these employees will be the first to be exempt from certain taxes, fees and business registration requirements as a result of the law.
The law (formerly bill A-3699/S-2518) was sponsored by Assembly Democrats Annette Quijano, Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Benjie Wimberly and signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy in January 2019. It encourages private entities to assist New Jersey in times of disaster or emergency by exempting workers from having to pay certain state taxes and fees if they perform emergency work.
With 1.4 million residents losing power at the peak of the storm, New Jersey’s utility providers needed assistance restoring electricity to many homes and businesses. Around 2,000 utility crews from other states and Canada answered the call for help. The law’s stipulations will apply to these non-New Jersey employees for the first time since its passage.
The three sponsors issued the following statements regarding the law:
Assemblywoman Annette Quijano (D-Union): “It’s important to remove any and all barriers that would potentially prevent companies from assisting us in our greatest times of need. By excluding these companies from paying certain in-state taxes, we encourage businesses from all over the country and even outside the country to come to New Jersey during times of great need. The unhindered assistance we received from these out-of-state utility crews after Isaias is exactly what the law aims to encourage.”
Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen): “During a state of emergency or following a disaster like the damage done by Isaias, we need all hands on deck to restore critical infrastructure and utilities. If we were to impose state taxes on these out-of-state businesses, we would potentially dissuade them from providing assistance. Doing this would be a disservice to all of our residents, which is why this was signed into law.”
Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly (D-Bergen,Passaic): “Taxes should never potentially prevent New Jersey from receiving necessary assistance following a disaster or emergency. We owe it to our residents in these scenarios to provide maximum relief in an expedited fashion. If a company wishes to do infrastructural or municipal business to assist our state in trying times, this law encourages them to do so, rather than deterring them.”