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Legislature scheduled to act on series of business-related bills

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Bills that would reorganize the state's universities and provide for $750 million in bonds to pay for college construction were among those scheduled for voting in the state Senate this afternoon.

In addition, bills to allow foreclosed homes to be turned into affordable housing and casino patrons to gamble on mobile devices were among the bills scheduled to be voted on by the Assembly.

With nine days left before the annual state budget deadline, the budget committees for both legislative houses are scheduled to vote on the budget, laying the groundwork for a potential budget vote by the full Legislature on Monday.

However, some details of the budget still aren't resolved, including whether there will be a $180 million tax cut. Democratic legislators have said they want to base the cut on whether the state meets revenue targets, but Gov. Chris Christie opposes this provision.

Much of the tax cut discussion has focused on a proposal by Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney (D-West Deptford) to limit the cuts to residents with less than $250,000 in income, who would see an income tax reduction of up to $1,000 based on how much property tax they pay.

The Senate was set to vote on a series of employment-law measures intended to address gender equality in pay, but which business groups say are duplicative and unnecessary. Another Senate bill would revise state laws regulating limited liability companies.

The Senate also is scheduled to vote on a bill addressing the state assuming the value of unused gift cards. While New Jersey Retail Merchants Association lobbied for an earlier version of the bill, association President John Holub said he opposed the current version based on recent changes to the measure.

Both budget committees voted this morning to release bills that allows towns to receive energy tax receipts from utilities, as well as a measure providing funding for the Transportation Trust Fund.

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