New Jersey businesses could be looking at a large tax increase in July to replenish the diminished unemployment trust fund.

About 1.6 million New Jersey workers have applied for unemployment benefits in the state since the start of the pandemic in March. The trust fund has paid out $4.7 billion in benefits.

During a Senate budget committee hearing on Tuesday, Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo said insurance rates may very well rise without federal aid, as a result.

“I don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, but I think if there’s no federal relief, that anybody who’s looking at the numbers would know that we’re going to be in the far opposite column of where we are right now,” he said.

That particular column — called E+10% — represents the highest-cost rate.

NJBIA Vice President of Government Affairs Christopher Emigholz told NJ.com that would be another major blow to New Jersey businesses.

“At the very least, going to E+10% would mean a tax increase amounting to many hundreds of millions of dollars for employers throughout the state — basically bigger than any individual tax increase on employers that Governor Murphy has proposed as part of his revised FY2021 budget,” he said.

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