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NJBIA, joined by a diverse coalition of business groups, told the Senate Labor Committee on Monday that they oppose a bill that would impose new regulatory burdens on small businesses with municipal contracts because it will drive up costs for businesses and taxpayers. 

NJBIA Vice President of Government Affairs Elissa Frank testified that bill S-1403 would add new registration fees, reporting and apprenticeship requirements, which would affect a “host of new contractors and have negative impacts on a ton of businesses in New Jersey.” 

The bill also runs counter to separate legislative initiatives, supported by the administration, to ease apprenticeship requirements for small businesses so that they may bid on public work contracts, she told the committee. Small family businesses that are unlikely to grow beyond family members don’t have the resources to participate in apprenticeship programs.  

The bill would have negative impacts on municipal services and costs; economic growth; job creation; affordable housing production; and businesses, particularly small and those that are women and minority owned, Frank wrote in correspondence sent prior to the hearing on behalf of NJBIA and nine other business groups that are opposed to the legislation. 

“This legislation was amended in the previous legislative session and those amendments greatly expanded and moved well beyond what we believed was the original intent of the legislation,” the businesses wrote. “Particularly concerning was the addition of a new definition of ‘work for a public body,’ which is confusing and open to interpretation but is also highly problematic because it triggers not only reporting, but also registration fee and apprenticeship requirements. 

“Additionally, this vague language will have unintended consequences of capturing every public subsidy, tax credit, tax abatement, PILOT agreement, loan or loan program, whether for affordable housing, redevelopment or for cleanup,” the businesses wrote. “This is overburdensome and unnecessary and we collectively believed that was never the original intent of the legislation.” 

Joining NJBIA in opposing the legislation in the correspondence were The Chamber of Commerce of Southern New Jersey, ICSC, The National Federation of Businesses, NAIOP New Jersey, New Jersey Apartment Association, New Jersey Builders Association, New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce, New Jersey State League of Municipalities, and Downtown NJ. 

The committee voted 3-1 to advance the legislation.