NJBIA's Public Policy Forum: The Road to Recovery REGISTER

Unprecedented times call for extraordinary efforts.

Which is why more than 70 business and nonprofit groups have banded together over the past month to make essential recommendations to both state and federal lawmakers – all in the hopes of bringing immediate relief to New Jersey’s business community during the COVID-19 response, while also urging proposals to help ensure a responsible recovery on the other side.

“This has really been an amazing effort by all of the groups involved,” said Chrissy Buteas, Chief Government Affairs Officer for NJBIA. “As a collective, all of these groups and associations represent so many employers and their employees in the state, there really is strength in numbers and I think our policy leaders understand that.

“It’s important to build as much consensus as possible when you’re trying to build policies for the greater good in a time of crisis. I’m very proud to work with all of these groups. Obviously, when you get 70-plus groups together, not everyone is going to agree on every nuance of every issue. And any group is, of course, free to step aside if they don’t agree with a particular approach. But overall, this has been an important effort on behalf of the businesses and nonprofits in need in New Jersey.”

On April 1, this New Jersey Business Coalition put forth a series of recommendations to bring relief to New Jersey job creators, without impacting state revenues. Other recommendations were made for economic relief dependent on federal aid.

Within weeks, a few of those recommendations had become law, while others are currently being drafted as bills.

“We are definitely grateful for the Legislature and to Governor Murphy for taking such fast action on these items,” Buteas said. “I think they recognized the urgency of the situation.”

But the coalition’s work is not done. Last week, it sent a letter strongly encouraging state policymakers to allocate more federal relief funding to NJEDA’s COVID-19 business recovery programs.

And earlier this week, it urged New Jersey’s federal delegation to bring forth more funding for small businesses and made recommendations on how the federal loan programs can be improved.

“We hope to continue along this path,” Buteas said. “Obviously, the health and welfare of our residents must come first. But the urgency in the need for our businesses and nonprofits, and their employees, cannot be understated. This is a historic time and it’s going to take a historic effort to assist and, in many cases, save our businesses.”