NJBIA testified Monday in support of five bills that would collectively appropriate $100 million in federal funds to the New Jersey Economic Development Authority to help microbusinesses, restaurants, childcare centers, nonprofits and cultural institutions struggling under COVID-19 operating restrictions.
“These bills target relief to the businesses that have been hurt most over the past year by government-ordered closures and operating restrictions related to the pandemic,” NJBIA Vice President of Government Affairs Christopher Emigholz said. “New Jersey must do it all it can as quickly as it can to ensure the businesses that have survived this long are able to make it through the next few months.”
The Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee voted unanimously to approve the five-bill package Monday that would collectively appropriate $100 million in federal COVID-19 relief fund funds to the NJEDA to distribute to struggling businesses as follows:
- $35 million for food and beverage establishments (S-3524)
- $25 million for microbusinesses with 10 or fewer employees (S-3523)
- $15 million for businesses and nonprofits (S-3519)
- $15 million for arts and cultural organizations (S-3521) and
- $10 million for childcare centers (S-3520).
Citing economic data from the nonprofit, nonpartisan Opportunity Insights located at Harvard University, Emigholz said the number of small businesses open in New Jersey as of March 12 is down 34.4% compared to January of 2020 before the pandemic. Small business revenue is down 35.8% during that same time.
Emigholz said small businesses restaurants, childcare centers, nonprofits and cultural institutions are in desperate financial circumstances, and need financial assistance to survive and keep their workers employed. These business owners have been telling their stories during a series of virtual town halls hosted by NJBIA and the New Jersey Business Coalition, which includes over 100 business and nonprofit organizations.
This story was updated at 5:30 p.m., March 22 to include the comittee vote.