It was just over two weeks ago that the bill - S2880 - that would provide some $25 million in tax credits for Rutgers facilities was voted out of the Ray Lesniak-chaired Senate Economic Growth Committee. It was a 4-0 vote (not 5-0 as we reported). It sounded like it was doing well. And I guess it is, as it is now in the hands of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.
Except if you look at the Committee's schedule, there are no hearings or meetings currently scheduled. But, then again, the wheels of progress can turn slowly in Trenton. The Budget Committee is chaired by Paul Sarlo (D, Bergen), not the pro-Rutgers Lesniak. But Sarlo is an NJIT grad, and down the road NJIT may be looking for the same opportunities; remember that the original bill proposed by Lesniak included money for NJIT. The rest of the Committee - with a majority of Democrats - includes Peter Barnes (D, Middlesex), Jeff Van Drew (D, Cape May and a Rutgers alum), Nellie Pou (D, Passaic and with RU ties), and Linda Greenstein (D, Middlesex) along with both the Senate Majority Whip (Sandra Cunningham) and Assistant Majority Leader (Teresa Ruiz, Essex/Newark/"NJIT"). Those Middlesex ties, being Rutgers back yard, can't hurt. The committee also has Kevin O'Toole (R, Passaic) and his two Seton Hall degrees.
The money, of course, would ostensibly be used to spark the needed construction Rutgers needs in athletics. Lesniak is a men's hoops season ticket holder and he raised the issue back in the winter of whether or not Rutgers (and in particular University President Barchi) was ready to support making Rutgers "Big Ten ready".
But as the calendar turns the page into June, we're pretty much where we were two weeks ago. And we're 18 days from President Barchi's presentation to the Board of Governors on a Master Plan (or something) on athletics. So, do we get excited that something's on the stove, or do we just grab a good summer-read book and sit back and keep hoping?
Weather's been nice. And how 'bout those Mets?