Government Affairs Alert Blog

NJEDA Proposes Readoption and Changes to Administrative Rules

Notwithstanding recent headlines about attempts to “kill” off the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA), reports of the NJEDA’s death are greatly exaggerated. On November 20, 2017, the NJEDA proposed for readoption with amendments the administrative rules for its assistance programs. This includes changes to the Grow NJ Assistance Program (the “Grow NJ Program”) that implement the recently enacted law creating incentive areas around colleges and universities; modifications to the submission dates for the Economic Redevelopment and Growth Program (the “ERG Program”); and revisions to the Angel Investor Tax Credit Program (the “Angel Investor Program”). Interested parties may submit written comments by January 19, 2018. The NJEDA is an independent State agency that finances small and mid-sized businesses, administers tax incentives to retain and grow jobs, revitalizes communities through redevelopment initiatives and supports entrepreneurial development by providing access to training and mentoring programs. We have previously written about some of the NJEDA’s programs, and the most important proposed changes to the NJEDA’s program rules are listed below. Grow NJ Grow NJ encourages economic development and job creation by offering tax credits to businesses looking to relocate to the State, or that are currently located in New Jersey but are in danger of...

James R. Zazzali Named Ethics Counsel to Gubernatorial Transition

Governor-elect Phil Murphy today announced his appointment of James R. Zazzali, Of Counsel at Gibbons P.C. and former Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court, to serve as ethics counsel to Transition2018. In this role, Mr. Zazzali will ensure transparency in the transitional campaign’s operations and compliance with state ethics laws on the part of all gubernatorial transition staff, committees, and volunteers. Gary Stein, a former Associate Justice on the New Jersey Supreme Court, was also appointed as ethics counsel to Transition2018. “James Zazzali has a lengthy and highly regarded history of civic engagement and dedicated service to the state of New Jersey,” says Patrick C. Dunican Jr., Chairman and Managing Director of Gibbons. “Those of us at the firm are well aware of the exceptional qualifications that Governor-elect Murphy clearly recognized in appointing him to the transition team.” “I am honored that Justices Zazzali and Stein will be ensuring that my transition lives up to the highest standards of ethics and transparency, and will set the tone for my administration,” said Murphy. “They are giants in the law community and are respected statewide. Their leadership and guidance will be invaluable.” Mr. Zazzali joined Gibbons in 2007, after retiring...

Murphy Announces Transition Team Chairs and Co-Chairs

This morning, Governor-elect Murphy released his transition committees and the committees’ chairs and co-chairs. In announcing the specific policy committees and their leadership, the Governor-elect stated that the “co-chairs boast a rich diversity of both background and experiences, of valuable government experience and unique outside perspectives.” The Governor-elect’s full press release with the list of transition leaders can be found here.

Murphy Wins Governor’s Race, Democrats Pick Up Seats in the Legislature

On Tuesday, November 7th, New Jersey voters elected Democrat Phil Murphy as the next Governor of New Jersey. Mr. Murphy defeated the State’s Republican Lieutenant Governor, Kim Guadagno, by a margin of 56% to 42%. All 120 seats in the State Legislature were also on the ballot, and the Democrats retained their majority in both houses. Democrats will pick up one Senate seat and two Assembly seats, bringing their control to 25 seats in the Senate, and 54 seats in the Assembly. Lastly, voters approved two ballot questions related to borrowing for library improvements and the dedication of funds for environmental cleanups. Governor’s Race Phil Murphy was the favored candidate from the start of the general election, having outpolled Lieutenant Governor Guadagno by as much as 20 percent in some surveys. This campaign marked Governor-Elect Murphy’s first time running for public office. He is a former Goldman Sachs executive, and the former Finance Chair of the Democratic National Committee. Mr. Murphy also served as Ambassador to Germany during President Obama’s first term. The Murphy campaign focused on three main issues: growing the economy, economic fairness, and investing in New Jersey. Governor-Elect Murphy’s platform included raising new tax revenues through closing...

Gibbons Ranked Best Law Firm and Best Lobbying Firm in Inaugural NJBIZ Reader Rankings

Gibbons P.C. has been selected as the best law firm and the best lobbying firm in New Jersey in the inaugural NJBIZ Reader Ranking Awards. The Reader Rankings were compiled through an online survey seeking the best of the best in a wide range of categories and subcategories. According to NJBIZ, “The publication of the 2017 Reader Rankings by NJBIZ is our way of recognizing the regard our readers have for the businesses in their communities. What makes the companies listed here distinct is the devotion they inspire among our region’s business leaders.” Gibbons has been recognized by numerous organizations and publications for the firm’s work on behalf of clients, including being named among the New Jersey Law Journal’s Litigation Departments of the Year, earning the top overall honors in 2014, as well as recognition for the practice areas of class actions (2017), products liability (2016), and commercial litigation (2013). The Gibbons Government Affairs Department has ranked as the #1 lawyer-lobbying firm in New Jersey for nine consecutive years, according to the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission In addition, the firm and Gibbons attorneys are also consistently recognized in annual client-review publications such as the Chambers USA Guide to...

New Jersey Legislature Considers Corporate and Business Law Reforms

A series of bills that would reform the New Jersey Business Corporation Act (“NJBCA”) are slowly churning their way through the New Jersey State Legislature. The pending legislation is modeled upon provisions of the “Delaware Business Corporation Law” and the recommendations of the “New Jersey Corporate and Business Law Study Commission.” In sum, the proposed revisions would generally benefit corporate boards of directors and modernize provisions of the NJBCA. Inspections of Corporate Books and Records Assembly Bill 2975 (Pinkin)/Senate Bill 2238 (Diegnan) modifies the NJBCA to allow corporations to impose reasonable limitations or conditions on the use or distribution of requested corporate books and records. While the bill does not define such “limitations and conditions,” the legislative statement accompanying A-2975/S-2238 provides an example of conditioning the receipt of requested materials on the demanding shareholder agreeing to customary confidentiality obligations. The bill preserves the ultimate authority of a court to decide and order relief in actions brought by shareholders for inspection of materials. On January 23, 2017, A-2975 passed the General Assembly by a vote of 69-0. On June 19, 2017, S-2238 passed the Senate Commerce Committee by a vote of 4-0. This bill is now awaiting a vote in the full...

Do You Like What You’re Reading? Rate Our Blog: The ABA Journal’s “Web 100” Award

Thank you for visiting the Gibbons Government Affairs Alert blog! Content on our site, authored by members of the Gibbons Government Affairs Department, provides practical perspectives, discussion, and analysis of the latest legislative news and trends. How are we doing? To review our blog and nominate the Gibbons Government Affairs Alert for this year’s ABA Journal’s “Web 100” award, please visit abajournal.com/blawgs/web100 and share why you are a “fan” of our site (Please note: the voting process closes on Sunday, July 30). Thank you in advance for your support.

With the 2017 Primary Over, It’s Murphy versus Guadagno for Governor

On Tuesday, June 6, 2017, New Jersey voters went to the polls to select their party’s nominees for Governor and all 120 seats in the Legislature. After a 2016 election cycle full of surprises, New Jersey’s 2017 primary resulted in wins for the gubernatorial front-runners, Democrat Phil Murphy and Republican Kim Guadagno. Those legislative districts with contested primaries also resulted in no major upsets and saw the expected candidates emerge with victories. Governor’s Race Former Ambassador Phil Murphy won the Democratic primary with 48 percent of the vote (241,353). His next closest competitor, former U.S. Treasury official Jim Johnson, garnered 22 percent (109,260), followed by Assemblyman John Wisniewski who also received 22 percent (107,872). Senator Raymond Lesniak came in fourth with 5 percent (24,136). Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno won the Republican primary with 47 percent of the vote (113,404). Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli tallied 31 percent (75,275). In both contests, turnout was low. About one-quarter of Democratic voters, and only 20 percent of Republicans, participated in the primary. With New Jersey and Virginia being only states to hold a gubernatorial election in 2017, national groups are expected to make these two elections a referendum on President Trump and his agenda. Legislative...

Federal Tax Reform and the Potential Repeal of the Cash Method of Accounting

In the wake of the introduction by President Trump of his Tax Reform proposal on April 26, 2017, Congress, especially the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means, will be considering various methods to fund tax rate reductions. The White House formally delivered the President’s proposed budget to Congress on May 23, 2017. One proposal likely to be under consideration is the repeal of the cash method of tax accounting for service businesses, though many experts dispute whether many of the budget’s finer details will ever pass both houses of Congress. Under current law, the cash method of accounting cannot be used for income tax purposes by (i) businesses that sell goods and therefore must keep inventories, and (ii) C corporations with average annual gross receipts of $5,000,000 or more. A taxpayer-favorable exception from the C corporation rule is available for qualified personal service corporations, consisting of personal service corporations (PSCs) in the fields of health, law, engineering, architecture, accounting, actuarial science, performing arts, or consulting, when at least 95% of the stock of such PSCs is owned directly or indirectly by employees performing services in one of such fields. To oversimplify things, this means that law firms...

21st Century Cures Act Lands in Federal Budget Blueprint

President Trump’s proposed FY 2018 Budget (a/k/a the “skinny budget”) presented a departure from his predecessor’s proposed annual budgets – namely a $54 billion increase in defense and military spending paired with corresponding cuts to virtually every other federal department. But one area President Trump did not cut was the implementation of the 21st Century Cures Act (the “Cures Act”), which also happens to be one of the last bills signed into law by then-President Obama. The FY 2018 budget blueprint proposes to appropriate $1.1 billion towards the Cures Act’s implementation in the upcoming fiscal year. The Cures Act strives to expedite the discovery, development, and delivery of new treatments and cures. Those in the medical, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical industry should look to the Cures Act as the potential game-changer that the bipartisan sponsors of the law hoped it would be. Not only does the Cures Act provide the National Institute of Health with significant new funds to speed up research into diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s, but it also attempts to speed up the process by which new treatments are reviewed and approved by the FDA. The Cures Act also focuses on changes to the treatment of mental health and...