Move to merge sports and expo authority with Meadowlands panel advances in NJ

 In this Nov. 13, 2009, file photograph, New Jersey's Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, (left), listens as Gov. Chris Christie answers a question outside the Meadowlands stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. (Mel Evans/AP File Photo)

In this Nov. 13, 2009, file photograph, New Jersey's Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, (left), listens as Gov. Chris Christie answers a question outside the Meadowlands stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. (Mel Evans/AP File Photo)

In its last vote of the year, New Jersey’s Senate gave final legislative approval to consolidating the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority and the Meadowlands Commission.

The legislation also revises a tax-sharing program among 14 municipalities that funds economic development and replaces it with a 3 percent assessment on hotel rooms in those towns.

Primarily visitors to New York City frequent those hotels, said Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto, D-Hudson.

The assessment will be on “people that are not from even this state, and it’s from those same municipalities in the district that it’s going to go back to the residents as property tax relief,” he said.

Republicans voted against the bill, said minority leader Sen. Tom Kean Jr.

“We always want to decrease the tax burden on every citizen in the state of New Jersey and, in my opinion, this doesn’t decrease the tax burden … it just reallocates it.” said Kean, R-Union.

Consolidation will improve efficiency in promoting regional economic growth, Prieto said.

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