NJBIA testified in support of a package of pro-small-business bills that were advanced Monday by the Assembly Community Development and Affairs Committee.
NJBIA Chief Government Affairs Officer Christopher Emigholz said that while the legislative package would not solve New Jersey’s high taxes, overregulation and affordability challenges, the bills were still a “fantastic start” to help small businesses. The bills would help make the state more business friendly by building upon the “great work” being done by the Business Action Center and New Jersey Economic Development Authority, Emigholz said, and make the state less heavy-handed with fines for minor paperwork violations that cause no harm to workers or the public.
For example, businesses can face compounded fines of hundreds of thousands of dollars if they were unaware of a permit that had been required years earlier, Emigholz said. Bill A-4753, sponsored by Assemblyman Roy Freiman (D-16), would provide relief from excessive fines by allowing state agencies to waive or suspend fines for minor first-time violations that do not impact public safety or violate labor laws, provided the business corrects the violation within 60 days.
“NJBIA represents the little guys on Main Street all the way up to the big Fortune 500 companies that are household names,” Emigholz said. “The larger companies have compliance officers and lawyers and environment people and HR people. The little guy who is running a restaurant might not have the time to worry about all that. These small business owners have done nothing to hurt anyone, but government is sometimes making their lives more difficult.”
The bills in the package, supported by NJBIA, that were unanimously released by the committee include:
- A-4748 (Moriarty, Haider, Sampson) – Requires the New Jersey Business Action Center to collect and disseminate customer assistance metrics with the goal of enhancing customer service.
- A-4749 (Coughlin, Swain, Timberlake) – Requires NJ Business Action Center to establish and maintain a publicly available small business manual containing information on permits and inspections, financial assistance programs, lease contracts and more.
- A-4750 (Jaffer, Caputo, Atkins) – Creates a public database of vacant commercial space for small businesses.
- A-4751 (Mosquera, Speight, DeAngelo) – Establishes mentorship program for new businesses and start-ups.
- A-4752 (Tully, Benson, Chaparro) – Promotes small business internet presence.
- A-4753 (Freiman, Park, Lampitt) – Allows state agencies to waive suspension or fines against businesses for minor first-time violations that do not impact public safety or violate criminal or labor laws if the violation is corrected within 60 days.