$100M could be on the way for N.J. small businesses, restaurants, bars, daycare centers

Posted Mar 08, 2021

New Jersey’s smallest businesses, child care centers, bars, restaurants and nonprofits suffering from a year of business disruptions and restrictions could receive $100 million in aid, under a bill package that cleared a state Assembly committee Monday.

The slate of five bills would set aside federal funds for employers in these sectors, including $25 million for microbusinesses, $35 million for bars and restaurants, $10 million for daycares, $15 million for arts and culture organizations million and $15 million to other businesses and nonprofits.

Business revenue during the pandemic has plummeted and unemployment skyrocketed. Nearly four in 10 small businesses in the Garden State businesses have closed their doors, according to the New Jersey Business and Industry Association.

“These bills will help our economy and hopefully address these distressing numbers,” said Christopher Emigholz, the organization’s vice president of government affairs.

The grants are “subject to the availability” of federal money, whether it’s outstanding CARES Act funds or some of the $6.3 million that could be coming New Jersey’s way as part of the stimulus package before Congress this week.

The state’s Economic Development Authority would be charged with allocating and determining the size of individual grants, according to the bills.

A microbusiness, according to the bill (A5443), is one that employs 10 or fewer full-time equivalent employees.

“Microbusinesses not only employ local residents, but also provide unique products and services that are tailor-made for their communities. New Jersey is a state that values hard work, ingenuity and entrepreneurship, and these businesses are a perfect example of the principles we seek to foster here,” the bill’s Democratic sponsors said in a joint statement.

Grants for restaurants and bars, breweries, brewpubs and wineries would be restricted to those with 100 or fewer employees, according to the bill (A5444).

The Assembly Commerce and Economic Development approved the bills Monday afternoon. They must be passed by both houses of the state Legislature and signed by the governor to have effect.

The committee also approved a bill (S3305) offering businesses corporation business or gross income tax credits for virus-related improvements, such as sneeze guards, infrared thermometers and ventilation at nonresidential buildings in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

“The changes made to buildings throughout our state since the beginning of this pandemic have been crucial to helping protect residents from COVID-19,” the bill’s sponsors said in a statement. “Upgrading HVAC systems to increase outside airflow and improve air filtration is just one of the ways in which business owners and landlords have helped prevent this deadly virus from spreading among building occupants.”

Tax credits would be capped at $100,000 for businesses with smaller square footage and $250,000 for those with larger footprints. They could carry forward the credits for up to seven tax years. The nonpartisan Office of Legislative Services said it could not determine the state’s potential revenue loss.

The state Senate in January passed the bill 32-0.

Another bill (A4958) approved by the commerce committee Monday creates a sales tax exemption for small businesses that purchased goods or services — such as snow removal, tents and space heaters — between September 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021, to allow them to operate outdoors.

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published this page in News and Politics 2021-03-09 04:01:44 -0800