DESCRIPTION: Provides corporation business tax credit to taxpayers that develop qualified native pollinator habitat on undeveloped property and in their right of way
TO: Senate Energy & Environment Committee
Thank you, Chairman Smith and the Committee, for hearing both bills. Let the record show that I will be testifying on both S2553/S2554. New Jersey LCV is supportive of both S2553/S2554 which offer corporate business tax credits to develop qualified native pollinator habitat on public utility right of ways and undeveloped property.
As we know, pollinators are under stress due to habitat diversity and loss, and pesticide use, amongst other influences, and have resulted in rapidly declining populations. One way to directly address this issue is to convert unutilized or underutilized land to qualified native pollinator habitat, and New Jersey LCV is in support of the incentives provided by both bills to develop and expand qualified native pollinator habitat.
While we support both of these bills, we recommend a few small adjustments to strengthen and clarify this bill.
First, we suggest adjusting the definition of “qualified native pollinator habitat” to be more inclusive of pollinators and include other species such as hummingbirds, butterflies and bats.
Second, we recommend the Department of Agriculture to provide an annual report detailing the effectiveness of the program, specifically highlighting the amount of total land converted to qualified native pollinator habitat, total amount of tax credits awarded, and brief summaries of some notable projects throughout the state, to ensure consistent monitoring and reporting.
Third, while this legislation is important and encouraging to address the rapid and critical decline in pollinators, more effective legislation limiting or banning the use of pesticides such as neonicotinoids should complement this effort. New Jersey LCV looks forward to working with the Committee to design this legislation.
Lastly, and specifically for S2553, regarding section 1.d., undeveloped property should be defined as “an area that lacks the infrastructure, services and buildings that are characterized as development, but have been altered from its wild natural state due to development.” Therefore, this is land that is underutilized and doesn’t house infrastructure and is suitable for pollinator habitat.
Thank you for your time.