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NJBIA’s Vice President of Government Affairs Christopher Emigholz discussed the wins and losses for the business community in the state’s recently enacted FY23 State Budget during Tuesday’s episode of the New Jersey CPA Society’s IssueWatch podcast.

Speaking with podcast host Jeff Kaszerman, Emigholz said the investments that the $50.6 billion budget makes in infrastructure, workforce development and innovation are all positives for economic growth, but small businesses didn’t get enough direct help.

“The fact that (they) didn’t find more money to support small businesses is a disappointment,” Emigholz said.

While the budget did contain $50 million for the Main Street program, that appropriation was the same as the prior year, not an increase. Additionally, the appropriation was statutorily required under the New Jersey Economic Recovery Act of 2020, a multi-year $14 billion program of tax incentives, financing and grants.

“That $50 million out of that multi-billion-dollar program, out of a $50.6 billion budget, is not a lot to be proud of,” Emigholz said.

While it is true that the budget did not directly increase taxes, it is also true that businesses are collectively dealing with a $1 billion three-year increase in their unemployment insurance payroll taxes, which are outside of the state budget process, Emigholz said. The second phase of the UI payroll tax increase went into effect on July 1, the same day as the FY23 budget did.

“That’s tough to swallow for businesses when they are basically being taxed on the shutdown that government made them go through,” Emigholz said, referring to the state-ordered closure of nonessential businesses early in the pandemic that led to massive layoffs and record unemployment claims from unemployed New Jersey residents.

To listen to the entire podcast, go here.