On behalf of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association, the nation’s largest statewide business association whose members employ over one million people in New Jersey, please accept our testimony in support of Senate Bill No. 3033.
We very much appreciate the sponsor’s efforts to provide funding for small businesses in order for them to address the issues of energy efficiency as well as HVAC upgrades. Energy efficiency upgrades will help improve our environment, meet our clean energy goals, as well as reduce costs for small businesses. Saving money by being more energy efficient is crucial in these uncertain economic times. Further, this bill recognizes the need to upgrade HVAC systems in buildings in order to address the threat of COVID-19 and the rising awareness of other airborne public health hazards. A well functioning HVAC system will help prevent illness and will likely be a necessity for all buildings into the future.
While we support this legislation because of the benefits it provides to certain small businesses, we are asking for an amendment to expand its reach to all small businesses, not just those owned by women and minorities. While women and minority owned businesses may be worthy of enhanced government attention, at this time all small businesses in New Jersey need assistance due to the pandemic and its economic impacts.
Small businesses are hurting in New Jersey and they need whatever assistance government can make available. As of December 31st, the number of small businesses that are open decreased by 31.4% compared to January 2020. By sector this breaks down as follows:
- Leisure & Hospitality: -46.7%
- Education & Health Services: -27.5%
- Retail & Transportation: -22.24%
- Business & Professional Services: -15.2%
Business revenue is also substantially down, having decreased as of December 31st by 35.8% compared to January 2020. By sector this breaks down as follows:
- Leisure & Hospitality: -61.6%
- Retail & Transportation: -22.3%
- Education & Health Services: -19.1%
- Business & Professional Services: +1.2%
Given the enormous impact that this pandemic has had on all small businesses in New Jersey, we ask that you expand the scope of this bill to benefit all small businesses.
Thank you for your consideration.