Good Afternoon! My name is Christopher Emigholz, and I am the Vice President of Government Affairs for the New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA) covering tax, budget and economic development policy. On behalf of our member companies that provide 1 million jobs in our State and make NJBIA the largest statewide business association in the nation, thank you for posting these pro-business bills while businesses are facing a myriad of COVID-challenges and need your support. NJBIA supports A-4634 (Schaer/Johnson/McKnight), A-4918 (Greenwald), A-4958 (Tully), A-5218 (Freiman), S-3305/A-5389 (Smith/Oroho/Chaparro/ Danielsen/Dancer) and the five new EDA funding bills to improve our business climate in the wake of the pandemic, and we thank Chairman Johnson, the bills’ sponsors and this committee for advancing them.
NJBIA appreciates the work this committee has done on the pandemic by advancing legislation to help our struggling businesses, because you know they need it. The number of small businesses open now in New Jersey, compared to pre-pandemic January of 2020, is down 38.7%, and their revenue is down 41.9%. Consistently throughout the pandemic, New Jersey has had among the worst unemployment rates in the nation (7.7% today) and has seen more and more people drop completely out of the labor market. These bills will help our economy and hopefully address these distressing numbers.
NJBIA asks you vote yes on all 10 of these bills posted in your committee because they encourage and support businesses that are doing the right thing in today’s difficult climate:
- A-4634 (Schaer/Johnson/McKnight) – NJBIA supports this bill as a win-win both supporting large businesses with a small tax break and small businesses with incentives for corporations to contract with them. Although NJBIA supports the bill, we do request that it be amended to also include pass-through businesses that pay taxes through the income tax. Most businesses are organized this way, including many large businesses that this bill is designed to help. We understand that the sponsor wants to keep the bill narrower at this time, but we hope this amendment can be considered in the future to make this bill more equitable among all types of businesses.
- A-4918 (Greenwald) – NJBIA supports this bill as it continues the success of the temporary shareholder meeting flexibility that corporations have utilized during the public health emergency, helps businesses better plan for the future of these meetings and could prevent unnecessary in-person gatherings that have been discouraged.
- A-4958 (Tully) – NJBIA supports this bill as it will provide sales tax relief to small businesses conducting their business outdoors during these colder months.
- A-5218 (Freiman) – NJBIA supports this bill as it will provide tax relief to small restaurants that have made investments to comply with the health and safety requirements imposed under the public health emergency executive orders.
- S-3305/A-5389 (Smith/Oroho/Chaparro/Danielsen/Dancer) – NJBIA supports this bill providing tax credits for health and safety re-investments as it will encourage economic activity and help the economy recover from the pandemic more quickly.
- Five EDA Funding Bills: A-5443 (Johnson/Freiman/Armato), A-5444 (Mazzeo/Tully/Mejia), A-5445 (Swain/Mosquera/Taliaferro), A-5446 (Zwicker/Downey), A-5447 (Carter/Houghtaling/McKnight) – NJBIA strongly supports these five bills with a collective $100 million additional for the EDA for micro-businesses, hospitality businesses, childcare centers, nonprofits and cultural institutions – businesses that have been hit so hard by this pandemic and limited in their operations by government. Many of these businesses would fall in the leisure and hospitality category which has been especially hard hit – 60% worse than the above statistics for all small businesses with 66.9% having closed since January of 2020.
NJBIA thanks you for your consideration of our perspective and asks for you to vote “yes” on these important bills that that will help employers throughout New Jersey. Please let me know if you have any questions.