Democrats in both houses of the New Jersey Legislature advanced a bill to return tens of millions in energy tax money to municipalities.

Power Lines

The Assembly and Senate Budget panels forwarded the measure along party-line votes.

The state has been withholding the money, which utility companies pay to locate power lines and infrastructure in cities and towns.

The measure would cost the state $66 million in the upcoming fiscal year.

Democrats who sponsored the bill have not identified a way to pay for it, prompting `no' votes from every Republican on the committees. Mayors of both parties say the money is needed to help stabilize property taxes.

Gov. Chris Christie does not support it. Republican Assemblyman Declan O'Scanlon says the governor could veto the measure if it reaches his desk.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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