NJBIA testified in favor of three bills before the Assembly Appropriations Committee today that are in response to the coronavirus pandemic and took the opportunity to urge lawmakers to provide a much broader effort to help small businesses.
The three bills NJBIA supports would:
- establish NJ Hospitality Emergency Loan Program in Economic Development Authority (EDA) to provide no-interest loans to qualified small hospitality businesses (A-3959, Mukherji);
- expand an existing EDA loan program for small producers of alcoholic beverages to cover operating expenses during a pandemic (A-3965, Moen); and
- permit municipalities to extend the grace period with no interest for payment of property taxes during a declared public health emergency(A-3967, Danielsen).
“Beyond these three bills, NJBIA hopes to see you continue to advance legislation from the New Jersey Business Coalition’s recommendations submitted to the Legislature on April 1,” said NJBIA Vice President for Government Affairs Chris Emigholz, testifying via conference call. “Whether they are bills using the federal funding that New Jersey was provided through the CARES Act or loosening some of the onerous rules and regulations to give small businesses some flexibility as they struggle to stay open and recover, businesses need your help.”
For instance, on the hospitality bill, Emigholz urged the committee to expand the EDA loan program for all small businesses by increasing the relatively low $1.5 million annual revenue threshold and consider adding a grant program.
“With the catastrophic economic conditions because of COVID-19, a grant program may be necessary in addition to the bill’s current loan program,” Emigholz said. NJBIA also recommended clarifying that the Governor can use the funding available under the federal CARES Act and can increase the $5 million appropriation through federal funding.
Similarly on A-3965, Emigholz urged legislators to expand funding for small businesses beyond just producers of alcoholic beverages.
“Given how many businesses of all kinds have been ravaged by this disaster, NJBIA would like to see greater expansion of EDA programs beyond this bill,” Emigholz said. “But A-3965 is certainly going in the right direction for these small producers of alcoholic beverages that may need operating support outside of the existing capital program.”