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Gov. Phil Murphy signed a new 2.5% tax on certain health insurance premiums, one of two bills passed by the Legislature last week that were vehemently opposed by the business community because of the costs they will impose on thousands of employers.

NJBIA, along with other business and healthcare groups, went all out to convince lawmakers and the Murphy administration to oppose the legislation, and many legislators did vote against it, but the measure is now law. It takes effect Jan. 1, so affected employers will see the increase in their 2021 premiums.

“Even in ordinary times, these bills would be difficult to digest, especially when considering the exorbitant costs of doing business in New Jersey,” NJBIA President and CEO Michele Siekerka said in an op-ed in the Asbury Park Press. “But in these extraordinary and unprecedented times, when most of our surviving businesses tell us it will take years — if ever — to recoup their losses, the pursuit of these bills on their backs is unimaginable.”

Legislators did adopt a couple of NJBIA-backed amendments to the bill to limit the impact it would have on employers overall. Nevertheless, it’s a $200 million tax at a time when most businesses are fighting for their survival.

Legislators have also passed legislation to impose the cost of treating workers who contract COVID-19 onto the state’s workers’ compensation system, which is financed by employers, by creating a presumption that any infection occurred on the job. NJBIA is urging members to contact the governor and ask him to veto this bill.