NJBIA supported bills before legislative committees Tuesday that would provide an additional $135 million in federal funds to support small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including microbusinesses, nonprofits, arts and cultural organizations, restaurants, bars and childcare centers.

The bills, A-5904 and S-3982, sponsored by Assemblyman Gordon Johnson (D-37) and Senator Dawn Addiego (D-8), are before the Assembly Budget Committee and Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee this afternoon. Funding comes from the federal Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund established by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA).

NJBIA Vice President of Government Affairs Christopher Emigholz said that as of June 2, there are 39.9% fewer small businesses open in New Jersey compared to January 2020 before the pandemic started. In the Leisure and Hospitality industry more than half (51.6%) of businesses are gone since January 2020.

“New Jersey can help prevent the closure of more businesses by using these federal funds to help those that are struggling to hang on after the steep financial losses caused by the pandemic and more than a year of operating restrictions,” Emigholz said. “Targeting this assistance to those that have been hardest hit will save businesses, save jobs and help New Jersey’s economic recovery.”

The legislation would provide $135 million to the New Jersey Economic Development Authority to allocate as follows:

  • $55 million for eligible microbusinesses
  • $10 million for eligible for-profit arts and cultural organizations
  • $15 million for eligible food and beverage businesses
  • $45 million for eligible businesses and nonprofits
  • $10 million for eligible childcare providers

Financial support for struggling small businesses was included in the NJBIA guidance document, “Navigating a Smooth Landing for Our State Budget and Economy” sent to state policymakers, which outlined the best use of the $6.4 billion in federal ARPA funding for New Jersey.

The guidance document emphasized the need for debt reduction; spending on nonrecurring items that fill a current need; a multi-year spending approach to ensure expenditures avoid future tax increases; protecting and assisting those impacted by the pandemic, and pro-growth spending on workforce development, infrastructure, and innovation.

Update: Both bills, A-5904/ S-3982, were released by legislative committees and are scheduled to be voted on by the full Assembly and Senate on Thursday, June 24.