Legislation providing zero-interest loans to businesses in the hospitality industry is a good start but should be expanded to provide greater financial help to businesses devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, NJBIA told the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee today.
S-2371 (Gopal, D-11; O’Scanlon, R-13) would establish the NJ Hospitality Emergency Loan Program in the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) to provide no-interest loans to qualified small hospitality businesses. It would appropriate $5 million to EDA to implement the program.
In testimony submitted to the committee, NJBIA Vice President for Government Affairs Chris Emigholz suggested several expansions to the bill including grants for some small businesses on top of the loans in the bill now.
“NJBIA supports this bill as it will assist many of the small hospitality businesses that were forced to close or scale back their operations because of Governor Murphy’s executive orders shutting down businesses in response to the public health crisis,” Emigholz said. “Zero-interest loans will help many of these businesses stay afloat right now and be in a better position to more rapidly recover when Governor Murphy starts to reopen the economy.
“It would be helpful to cover more small businesses by increasing the relatively low $1.5 million annual revenue threshold as the recent EDA loan program included small businesses up to $5 million in annual revenue,” Emigholz said.
In addition to increasing the annual revenue threshold and considering grant programs, Emigholz suggested the bill clarify that the governor can use federal funding to help New Jersey businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and increase the $5 million appropriation.