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NJBIA testified Wednesday in support of a package of COVID-relief bills before the  Assembly Appropriations Committee, including five that would collectively provide $100 million to help microbusinesses, restaurants, childcare centers, nonprofits and cultural institutions.

“The number of small businesses open today in New Jersey, compared to pre-pandemic January of 2020, is down 33.9%, and their revenue is down 33%,” NJBIA Vice President of Government Affairs Christopher Emigholz said in his prepared testimony.

“These bills target relief to the businesses that have been hurt most over the past year during the pandemic by government-ordered closures and operating restrictions,” Emigholz said. “New Jersey must do all it can to ensure the businesses that have survived this long are able to make it through the next few months.”

The five-bill grant package, which the committee voted unanimously to release, would appropriate federal coronavirus relief funds to the New Jersey Economic Development Authority to be distributed as follows:

  • $25 million for microbusinesses with 10 or fewer employees
  • $35 million for food and beverage establishments
  • $10 million for childcare centers
  • $15 million for businesses and nonprofits
  • $15 million for arts and cultural organizations.

Emigholz also testified in support of two other COVID-19 related bills before the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

The first, A-4958, sponsored by Assemblyman Chris Tully (D-38), would temporarily exempt small businesses from paying sales tax on expenses related to winterizing outdoor operations during colder months, including the purchase of products to melt or remove snow and ice, tents, and space heaters. That bill was released by a unanimous vote.

The second bill, A-5133, sponsored by Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald (D-6), would create clear and transparent metrics for greater reopening of hospitality businesses.  That bill also was released, however,  some committee members expressed misgivings that it would usurp the governor’s power.

To read Emigholz’s testimony on the COVID-19 relief bills for businesses, go here.

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