Lawmakers are proposing $100 million in state aid for pandemic-hit businesses in New Jersey, and a variety of tax breaks meant to hold them over in the coming months.
Five bills would appropriate $25 million to microbusinesses – $35 million to bars and restaurants, $10 million to daycare, $15 million to arts and culture groups, and $15 million for other businesses and nonprofits – were approved at the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee’s remotely-held hearing on March 8.
Those funds would come out of federal COVID-19 relief aid to the state, and be doled out by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.
That agency currently oversees hundreds of millions of dollars in other grants, low-interest loans and other state subsidies meant to keep businesses afloat that have seen major disruptions because of the pandemic.
According to the proposed Assembly Bill 5443, microbusinesses are those with less than 10 employees.
“Microbusinesses are facing unprecedented challenges through no fault of their own because of this ongoing public health crisis,” reads a joint March 8 statement from several Democratic sponsors in the state Assembly. “Offering our support in these difficult times will help ensure these valuable enterprises can continue to succeed for years to come.”
Meanwhile, another four bills passed on Monday would provide tax breaks and other benefits for those businesses which have taken a major financial hit from the pandemic and ensuing mass business shutdowns.
“These bills will help our economy and hopefully address these distressing numbers,” New Jersey Business and Industry Association Vice President of Government Affairs Christopher Emigholz said in a March 8 statement.
One proposed measure, A4634, establishes tax breaks for larger corporations that subcontract small businesses – those with up to 50 employees. It passed in a 10-0 vote.
A4958 would let businesses with less than 20 employees apply for tax refunds on any sales tax they paid to “winterize their businesses,” such as tents, space heaters and snow and ice-removal equipment. That passed by a 10-0 vote.
Senate Bill 3305 would offer employers tax breaks for upgrades they made to their brick and mortar establishments to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. It passed by 10-0 vote on March 8, after being approved by the state Senate in a 32-0 vote on Jan. 28.
“Whether the changes were voluntary or a mandatory requirement to safely reopen, taxpayers deserve a credit for the expenses they have incurred or will incur to make these necessary adjustments,” reads a March 8 statement from several Democratic sponsors in the state Assembly.