[First Reprint]

SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION No. 151

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

217th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED MAY 1, 2017

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  BOB SMITH

District 17 (Middlesex and Somerset)

Senator  CHRISTOPHER "KIP" BATEMAN

District 16 (Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Amends Constitution to dedicate revenues from societal benefits charge for various energy-related uses established by law.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As reported by the Senate Environment and Energy Committee on June 1, 2017, with amendments.

  


A Concurrent Resolution proposing to amend Article VIII, Section II of the Constitution of the State of New Jersey by adding a new paragraph thereto.

 

     Be It Resolved by the Senate of the State of New Jersey (the General Assembly concurring):

 

     1.    The following proposed amendment to the Constitution of the State of New Jersey is agreed to:

 

PROPOSED AMENDMENT

 

     Amend Article VIII, Section II by adding a new paragraph 9 to read as follows:

     9.    (a)  Commencing July 1, 2018, there shall be credited in each State fiscal year to a special account in the General Fund an amount equivalent to the revenue derived from the societal benefits charge imposed pursuant to section 12 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-60), as amended and supplemented, or any other State law of similar effect.

     (b)   Except as otherwise provided in subparagraph (c) of this paragraph, the amounts annually credited to the special account established pursuant to subparagraph (a) of this paragraph shall be dedicated and shall be appropriated from time to time by the Legislature only for providing funding for the following purposes:  demand side management energy programs; energy efficiency programs; renewable energy programs; manufactured gas plant remediation; nuclear plant decommissioning; energy consumer education programs; and social programs specified in section 12 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-60).

     (c)   (1)  For State fiscal year 2019, up to $140,000,000 of the amount credited to the special account established pursuant to subparagraph (a) of this paragraph may be appropriated by the Legislature for 1[paying costs incurred] providing funding1 for any purpose or purposes other than those specified in paragraph (b) of this paragraph.

     (2)   For State fiscal year 2020, up to 1[$112,000,000] $84,000,0001 of the amount credited to the special account established pursuant to subparagraph (a) of this paragraph may be appropriated by the Legislature for providing funding for any purpose or purposes other than those specified in paragraph (b) of this paragraph.

     (3)   For State fiscal year 2021, up to 1[$84,000,000] $28,000,0001 of the amount credited to the special account established pursuant to subparagraph (a) of this paragraph may be appropriated by the Legislature for providing funding for any purpose or purposes other than those specified in paragraph (b) of this paragraph.

     1[(4)           For State fiscal year 2022, up to $56,000,000 of the amount credited to the special account established pursuant to subparagraph (a) of this paragraph may be appropriated by the Legislature for providing funding for any purpose or purposes other than those specified in paragraph (b) of this paragraph.

     (5)   For State fiscal year 2023, up to $28,000,000 of the amount credited to the special account established pursuant to subparagraph (a) of this paragraph may be appropriated by the Legislature for providing funding for any purpose or purposes other than those specified in paragraph (b) of this paragraph.]1

     (d)   It shall not be competent for the Legislature, under any pretense whatever, to borrow, appropriate, or use the amounts annually credited to the special account established pursuant to subparagraph (a) of this paragraph, or any portion thereof, for any purpose or in any manner other than as enumerated in this paragraph.

 

     2.    When this proposed amendment to the Constitution is finally agreed to pursuant to Article IX, paragraph 1 of the Constitution, it shall be submitted to the people at the next general election occurring more than three months after the final agreement and shall be published at least once in at least one newspaper of each county designated by the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the General Assembly and the Secretary of State, not less than three months prior to the general election.

 

     3.    This proposed amendment to the Constitution shall be submitted to the people at that election in the following manner and form:

     There shall be printed on each official ballot to be used at the general election, the following:

     a.     In every municipality in which voting machines are not used, a legend which shall immediately precede the question as follows:

     If you favor the proposition printed below make a cross (X), plus (+), or check (a) in the square opposite the word "Yes." If you are opposed thereto make a cross (X), plus (+) or check (a) in the square opposite the word "No."

     b.    In every municipality the following question:

 

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT DEDICATING 1[A PORTION OF THE RECEIPTS FROM CONSUMER ELECTRIC AND NATURAL  GAS BILLS] MONEYS COLLECTED FROM THE SOCIETAL BENEFITS CHARGE1 TO PAY FOR CERTAIN ENERGY PROGRAMS

 

YES

Do you approve amending the Constitution to dedicate all moneys collected from the societal benefits charge to pay for certain energy programs? By law, this charge is 1[included] imposed1 on all 1[consumer]1 electric and natural gas 1[bills] public utility customers1.

 

INTERPRETIVE STATEMENT

 

NO

Every electric and natural gas 1[bill includes] public utility customer must pay1 an extra charge 1on their utility bill1 called the “societal benefits charge.”  The law which created this charge requires that the moneys collected from it be used to pay for certain energy programs listed in that law.  However, in recent years the State Budget law has allowed some of the moneys collected from the charge to be used for other purposes.  This amendment would ensure that all of the moneys collected from the charge are used only to pay for certain energy programs.  The programs that the charge would fund include energy efficiency, clean energy, and energy conservation programs, energy assistance for low-income residents, nuclear plant closing costs, and site cleanup costs for certain closed energy plants.  The amendment would gradually phase in the dedication over 1[five] three1 years.