Lawmakers want to relax the penalties for small businesses that break the state’s paperwork rules, provided it’s the business’ first time.
The move, Assembly Bill 1677, would suspend “fines for inconsequential paperwork procedure violations” committed by small businesses, or those with less than 50 employees, reads a statement from the Assembly Republican Office.
Still, the fines would be levied against businesses if the violation could be shown to constitute criminal activity, impacts the ability of the state or another business to collect taxes or debt, if the violation could be shown to be a danger to public safety, or if the business has not resolved the matter within six months.
“There’s no need to clobber [businesses] with fines for technical errors that don’t harm anyone. New Jersey should focus on growing the economy, not punishing job creators for honest mistakes,” reads a Monday statement from one of the sponsors, Assemblyman Ron Dancer, R-30th District.
Lawmakers approved it by a 72-0 vote at the Assembly Monday session, while the upper house version – Senate Bill 2347 – has not moved out of the Senate Commerce Committee where it has remained since being referred there on April 5.
“Small businesses face so many unique challenges. They shouldn’t need to worry over fines they incurred because of minor mistakes that do not cause serious harm to the public, mask criminal activity or violate tax laws,” reads a joint statement from two other sponsors, Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling and Assemblywoman Joann Downey, both Democrats from the 11th Legislative District.