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NJBIA President and CEO Michele Siekerka issued the following the statement regarding the Senate pulling merged bill (A-2152/A-3683/S-733/S-2378) from the board list today, legislation that would have offset a $1 billion unemployment tax increase on small business and prevented a nearly $300 million payroll tax increase on business that takes effect on July 1.

“For nearly a year, Governor Murphy has had every opportunity to help New Jersey businesses avoid a $1 billion unemployment tax increase – which was the byproduct of his own longest-in-the-nation COVID-19 shutdowns and restrictions.

“When most other states appropriately used federal recovery dollars to partially or fully replenish their UI funds last year, Governor Murphy said no and instead promised to do something else for small business that would bring “more bang for the buck.”

“Today, the Senate took a compromise bill off the board that would have provided at least some UI tax relief to our surviving and struggling small businesses through tax credits. This bill would also require the state to pay off its federal UI loan by November to avoid triggering another $75 million federal tax increase.

“That common-sense legislation was unanimously approved by the Assembly this month and the Senate Budget and Appropriations committee on Monday, before being pulled in the 11th hour today in a fashion that is all too typical in Trenton.

“When recently asked why New Jersey businesses were not included in the $2 billion ANCHOR Property Tax Relief program, even though they pay nearly half of the property taxes in the state, Governor Murphy intimated there would be more help coming to them.

“Yet today, a compromise UI bill – supported by the Legislature, the business community, editorial boards and the public at large – magically disappeared. This even though it would have required no appropriation in the FY23 budget and would have given small business some much-needed support now.

“The Murphy administration repeatedly states it doled out millions in federal and state aid during the pandemic. But it doesn’t seem to understand that the completely avoidable $1 billion in UI tax hikes offsets that aid.

“By allowing this bill to be pulled from the board, our policymakers have ensured that New Jersey businesses will now incur a nearly $300 million UI tax increase on July 1 – just as our leadership boasts the rhetoric of no new or increased taxes in the FY23 budget.

“Perhaps there will be legislative efforts to help small businesses in the future. But for NJBIA’s part, Governor Murphy and the Senate failed small businesses today. There was a golden opportunity to prevent small businesses from bearing the full brunt of a massive $1 billion tax increase – a tax on jobs, not on wealth or profits.

“We have heard talk of affordability for business in New Jersey, but unfortunately, in this budget cycle, it is just talk. The actions – and inactions– of our policy leaders today only cement New Jersey’s well-earned reputation as being the worst in the nation to do business in. We stand ready to work with them in the future if and when they are ready to continue the discussion.”