(Parsippany, NJ ) Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce (R-26th), fresh off her election victory in November has set an ambitious legislative agenda for the new year that features pro-business tax legislation, civil service reform and energy protection for electric utility customers.
DeCroce served her first year in the General Assembly in 2012. Voters elected her to the Assembly in a special election in November.
“My first year in the State Assembly was very rewarding and productive. In 2013, I want to put my energy into addressing issues that are important to homeowners and business,” said DeCroce. “I am committed to supporting fiscally conservative measures to reduce taxes, reform state government, and increase commerce.”
The assemblywoman said one her highest priorities in 2013 will be to help improve the state economy. “New Jersey desperately needs targeted business tax reductions to make the state truly business friendly. We need to get rid of excessive taxation and government overregulation so businesses will invest in job creation.”
To help create jobs and spur economic growth, DeCroce sponsored A-1063, a bi-partisan bill that provides that certain permits and approvals for critical infrastructure projects such as roads, sewerage, water supply, and building projects – must be acted upon within 45 days.
“At a time when business is struggling, this legislation would encourage new construction projects, increase business development and address many of the failings of our state infrastructure, which is among the most decrepit in the nation,” she noted.
In 2013, said DeCroce, the legislature needs to revise the tax code as well as institute civil service reform and address the imbalances of state education financing. DeCroce is a former member of the Mine Hill Township Council and a former Roxbury Township Deputy Manager and Township Clerk. She also served as Deputy Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs with direct oversight of the Division of Local Government Services, which allowed her to work closely with 565 municipal governments. Given that experience, DeCroce said local governments could more easily restructure and reduce costs if there were sensible civil service reform.
“The legislature has to give local governments the flexibility they need to reduce costs, especially in an era of state imposed budget caps,” said the assemblywoman.
DeCroce also said she would like to work with her colleagues to return more state education dollars to suburban districts.
“The hardworking people of my district send a lot of money to Trenton and most of that money goes to supporting other school districts. It’s time to develop a fairer education funding formula that treats all children in all districts equally,” said DeCroce.
ENERGY SUPPLY PROTECTION
In the aftermath of the devastating damage from Hurricane Sandy and other recent storms, DeCroce sponsored “The New Jersey Residents’ Power Protection Act” (A-3495). The legislation proposes to create a tax incentive to help finance the mandatory installation of natural gas or propane-fired generators for certain vital businesses, facilities and nursing homes. The businesses covered under the legislation, such as gas stations and pharmacies, provide a critical and unique service to the economy, and other facilities, such as firehouses and emergency medical facilities, play significant roles in protecting people’s lives.
“The legislature cannot squander the opportunity to address the shortfalls in our energy delivery system that were made abundantly evident during Hurricane Sandy in October and during other destructive storms in recent years,” said DeCroce.
“The legislature cannot simply do nothing and allow another storm to come barreling through New Jersey, stranding people without access to gasoline or endangering vulnerable residents in nursing homes,” added the assemblywoman.
“My hope is that in 2013, the State Legislature can put partisanship aside and pass sound laws that benefit the residents of New Jersey. I will work with anyone in Trenton who wants to create initiatives that require government to live within its means and those that will accelerate job growth and make our state more affordable for families and businesses,” said DeCroce.