District 26 Asw. BettyLou DeCroce, fresh from her says she has 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 after she was chosen to fill the seat vacated by her late husband, former GOP Assembly leader Alex DeCroce. Voters then elected her to the Assembly in a special election in November.
“My first year in the State Assembly was very rewarding and productive," DeCroce said. "In 2013, I want to put my energy into addressing issues that are important to homeowners and business.”
The assemblywoman said one her highest priorities will be to help improve the state economy.
“New Jersey desperately needs targeted business tax reductions to make the state truly business friendly," she said. "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 bipartisan 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.
“The legislature has to give local governments the flexibility they need to reduce costs, especially in an era of state imposed budget caps,” she said, adding that local governments could more easily restructure and reduce costs if there were sensible civil service reform.
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," she said. "It’s time to develop a fairer education funding formula that treats all children in all districts equally.”
In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy and other recent storms, DeCroce sponsored bill A-3495, the New Jersey Residents’ Power Protection Act. The measure would create a tax incentive to help finance the mandatory installation of natural gas or propane-fired generators for certain vital businesses, firehouses, emergency medical facilities and nursing homes.
“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.
“My hope is that in 2013, the state legislature can put partisanship aside and pass sound laws that benefit the residents of New Jersey," she continued. "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."