Business Report: Utility costs, economic update, SALT deduction, age discrimination

Top officials from Biden administration give Congress an update on the economy

Could New Jersey residents see a huge spike in their utility bills? A new study finds it’s possible, if regulators don’t make some changes. According to an analysis prepared for the Board of Public Utilities, prices in New Jersey could spike by up to $300 million a year. The study looked at the potential impact of a new pricing rule used by the nation’s largest power grid, PJM Interconnection. New Jersey and other states buy what’s known as reserve power from PJM — power that’s needed at peak demand times. So now that the study results are in, New Jersey is reviewing what action to take. You can find out more by reading Tom Johnson’s report

Top officials with the Biden administration are providing Congress with an update on the economy. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell testified before congressional committees over the past two days, reassuring lawmakers that the economy is on track to bounce back from the pandemic. But they said recovering all the lost jobs will take longer. Yellen stated that full employment might not happen until next year.

Members of Congress also questioned Powell and Yellen on other topics. Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) asked the treasury secretary about the possibility of restoring the SALT deduction and Yellen said the administration is open to exploring that possibility. That cap limits state and local tax deductions to $10,000 which has led to higher federal tax bills for thousands of New Jersey residents.

The state Legislature meets Thursday with a full docket of bills, including one to address age discrimination against government employees. The Assembly will consider legislation that would broaden protections for older workers in state and local governments.

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