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 issues. 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 this bill and for allowing us the opportunity to express our strong support for S-3093.
NJBIA has long called for two things to help our businesses in this pandemic and this bill achieves both:
- a more regional approach to re-opening that will enable the New Jersey economy to more quickly, nimbly and safely recover.
- a more transparent re-opening process with clear and consistent timelines and data usage so businesses have more predictability, certainty and hope for when they can increase capacity and can return closer to their normal business model.
The public health and economic situation at a restaurant in Salem, New Jersey has very little to do with that of a bar in Paramus, yet statewide executive orders governing business operations treat these two businesses in towns separated by over 2 hours and 130 miles the same way. Instead, our next-door neighbor in New York has a regional approach where businesses in Buffalo may be treated differently than businesses on Long Island if public health dictates that as appropriate and safe. Pennsylvania also has a regional model that allows for the separate treatment of businesses in Philadelphia versus businesses in more rural Central Pennsylvania. This would mean that businesses in parts of the state that have been spared from the worst of COVID-19 can be shielded from the worst of any economic lockdown. The entire economy and all of our tax revenue would not have to suffer as much with this scalpel approach instead of a blunter statewide edict, while public health will still be appropriately protected where necessary.
Transparency, Predictability & Hope:
To run a business, you need a plan, and it is hard to plan under the constant threat of unpredictable and unilateral restrictions from state government. Businesses need predictability, and making the rules and data that drives those rules more available to and understood by all will breed confidence and hope for businesses and consumers. A businessperson could see that the data is looking bad and they could brace for further appropriate and expected restrictions. A small business owner could see that the data is very positive and they could start planning for greater capacity. This improved data usage available to all could eliminate a repeat of what happened last July 4th weekend, when a last-minute reversal forced many restaurants to waste resources for a planned re-opening that never happened.
NJBIA thanks you for your consideration of our perspective and asks for you to vote “yes” on this important bill that is both pro-business and pro-public health safety. Please let me know if you have any questions.
Christopher Emigholz, Vice President