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Businesses that make certain paperwork violations of state laws would be spared fines for first-time offenses under legislation approved by the Senate Commerce Committee Thursday.  NJBIA supports the bill, S-2347 (Bucco, R-25)/A-1677 (Dancer, R-12; Houghtaling, D-11).

“New Jersey needs to strike a better balance between a business climate that allows small businesses to grow and the need to regulate their activities,” said NJBIA Chief Government Affairs Officer Christine Buteas. “This bill is a good first step in that direction.”

“It may not seem like a big deal to many people, but for the thousands of small businesses in the state, getting fined just for filling out the form incorrectly can be stressful and impact their bottom lines,” Buteas said. “This bill would provide some welcome and needed relief to New Jersey’s heavy-handed regulatory bureaucracy.”

Under the measure, a state agency or regulatory authority would be required to suspend any administrative fine or civil penalty for paperwork violations regarding the collection of information. Businesses that employ 50 or fewer workers and qualify as a small business under the federal “Small Business Act” would be impacted.

The bill does have limits. If the paperwork violation has the potential to cause serious harm or if failure to impose a penalty would contribute to criminal activity, penalties would not be waived. Likewise for those violations that involve tax collections. Additionally, if the paperwork violation is not corrected within six months, penalties could be assessed at that time.