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2023 New Jersey Women Business Leaders Forum REGISTER

NJBIA President and CEO Michele Siekerka issued the following statement regarding the inauguration of Gov. Phil Murphy and Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver on Tuesday, as well as several bills that the governor took action on Tuesday.  

“We congratulate Governor Murphy and Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver on their re-election and wish their families and the administration well over the next four years. NJBIA looks forward to continuing to have a seat at the table with the administration regarding policies and issues that impact our businesses and residents, particularly as we emerge from the pandemic.  

“While we congratulate the governor today, we also must continue to stress our ongoing concerns with policies that strike against affordability, hurt regional competitiveness and add more burdens to business, as we saw with several of the bills signed into law today. These are examples of ongoing policies that will further challenge our business climate.” 

Siekerka statements on bills signed into law Tuesday 

A-1659/S-1559: Establishes the New Jersey Insurance Fair Conduct Act, also known as the “Bad Faith” bill 

“While this bill was portrayed as an effort to ensure that auto insurance companies act in good faith, there are already legal mechanisms in place to do so. Instead, this law will now open the floodgates for lawsuits that tip the balance of negotiating power into the hands of plaintiff attorneys, no matter the merits or frivolity of the case. 

“The significant rise of costs to insurers to contest these cases will now result in the inevitable rise in auto insurance rates for New Jersey residents and businesses – which has been well-documented as happening in other states that adopted a similar law. 

“We hear our policymakers talk about prioritizing affordability amid the highest property taxes, the highest corporate business tax and one of the highest income tax rates in the nation. In seeking a solution without a problem, this law will now add to the burdens of New Jerseyans across the board.” 

S-4207/A-6119: Concerns apprenticeship programs of public works contractors 

“By signing this bill into law, Governor Murphy has severely limited the ability of small businesses – including many minority-owned businesses – to bid on public works contracts by stifling their ability to meet apprenticeship program requirements.  

“By making it more difficult to participate in an aggregated apprenticeship program, this law shuts businesses out of public contracts, including small projects they would typically compete for in school districts and municipalities. Let’s not forget that these businesses have already faced barriers to entry when bidding on public works contracts. 

“This law will now further unfairly limit competition in the market, resulting in higher costs for these public works projects – which will, again, hit New Jersey taxpayers. We hope to work with the Legislature in this new session to address these concerns for our small businesses.” 

A-6246/S-4295: Concerns changes in control of hotels and disruptions of hotel services 

“Anyone who owns a private business and who one day envisions selling it should be alarmed by this law, as it essentially allows government to dictate employment conditions on those transactions. 

“This particular law will now require a new owner of a hotel to offer employment for each worker previously employed by the selling owner, with no reduction of wages or benefits for 90 days.  It also mandates the retention of these employees for an indefinite period of time beyond those 90 days. 

“It should not be the place of government to dictate levels of employment and previously negotiated wages and benefits. It should not be the role of government to limit managerial discretion of a private business, which could actually impact the value of a property. 

“The troubled hospitality industry is the immediate victim of this action. But it’s only a matter of time before legislative efforts are made to make other industries fall prey to this intrusive mandate, which further solidifies New Jersey’s reputation as having the worst business climate in the country.” 

S-2515/A-4676: Establishes post-consumer recycled content requirements for packaging products 

“This law will now place an undue burden on manufacturers by setting post-consumer recycled content requirements for a variety of plastic packaging products, including rigid plastic containers, glass containers, paper and plastic carryout bags and plastic trash bags.  

“While we understand the intent of this legislation, the technology and markets do not yet exist to meet some of its requirements, which will subject manufacturers to burdensome delays as they wait for state environmental officials to process waivers.” 

Siekerka statements on bills, supported by NJBIA, that were signed into law Tuesday 

S-4102/A-6230; S-4210/A-6062; S-4211/A-6228; A-5294/S-3418; A-5296/S-3426; A-5336wGR/S-3441: Multiple bills enhancing employment opportunities and training assistance for individuals with disabilities 

“This was some of the best news received today. NJBIA spent the past year building a coalition to advance these and other bills, while also promoting guidance and information for businesses seeking to hire employees with disabilities.  

“Seeing momentum in this space has been a proud mission this past year and we thank Governor Murphy for signing this full suite of bills, and the bills’ sponsors for their support. We want to see more businesses lean into hiring individuals with disabilities because of the great value they bring to the workforce, especially with our current hiring challenges.” 

S-4068: Revises elective pass-through entity business alternative income tax. 

“We were pleased to see this bill signed into law by the governor today as it corrects and improves the pass-through business alternative income tax we previously supported, which will further benefit small businesses and S-corps that pay their taxes through their income tax.” 

Siekerka statement on tax relief bills pocket vetoed Tuesday 

A-1269/S-3490: Eliminates 1 percent tax on purchasers of Class 4A commercial property transferred for consideration in excess of $1 million; A-4958: Provides temporary exemption under sales and use tax for winterizing certain small business operations. 

“The pocket veto of these bills are particularly disappointing. One bill would have reduced taxes in real estate development, which would have helped in attracting businesses to New Jersey. The other would have helped small businesses that pivoted to respond to the pandemic, the very ones struggling because of COVID-19. It is those businesses which need the most support.”