NJ small biz could soon be getting crucial assistance to survive
New Jersey lawmakers could soon approve a package of bills designed to bolster the pandemic recovery of close to a million small businesses across the Garden State.
According to Chris Emigholz, the chief government affairs officer for the New Jersey Business & Industry Association, the six-bill package is a comprehensive, multi-faceted attempt to give small businesses more resources and assistance.
“A package like this that makes the government more responsive to their needs, and tries to present it in an easier way for them to access is great and will be very helpful,” he said.
Give small biz more information
One measure, A4749, sponsored by Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, D-Middlesex, calls for the creation of an informative but succinct, small business manual that details assistance programs and regulatory processes overseen by different state departments
Another bill, A4748, sponsored by Assemblyman Paul Moriarty, D-Camden, would require the state Business Action Center to collect and share performance metrics, similar to what you could see in a customer satisfaction survey.
And legislation A753, sponsored by Assemblyman Roy Freiman, D-Somerset, would provide a cure period for minor first-time violations committed by small businesses, giving them an opportunity to fix an unintended error.
Emigholz said this is particularly important in a highly regulated state like New Jersey, where small business leaders may not realize they have done something improper.
“If it’s a small business and they made a mistake as a clerical error and it’s not putting anybody in danger, let’s not be so quick to punish them.”
Help them online
Another measure, A4752, sponsored by Assemblyman Chris Tully, D-Bergen would help retailers navigate the internet.
“The idea is to be able to tell them how e-commerce works, to make sure they’re following the rules, collecting the right taxes, to make sure they’re doing everything that a New Jersey small business needs to do online,” Emigholz said.
Another bill in the package, A4750, sponsored by Assemblywoman Sadaf Jaffer, D-Somerset, would require the Business Action Center to establish a public database of vacant commercial space, which would contain information about square footage and available onsite capital equipment.
And Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera, D-Camden, is sponsoring legislation A4751 that would create a mentorship program matching newly formed small businesses with more experienced peers.
Emigholz noted these measures will help small businesses at a time when they still face many challenges.
“They’re struggling because of supply chain issues, they’re struggling because of inflation, they’re struggling because it’s really hard to find anybody to work for you, there’s definitely a workforce crisis out there.”
He pointed out that about half of the jobs in New Jersey are small business jobs, and if the businesses that employ those individuals are struggling it will adversely impact the state economy and have an adverse effect on our communities as well.
“You can’t go to a Little League game or a soccer game or a high school football game on a Friday night without seeing small businesses giving back, small businesses sponsoring, small businesses doing scholarships,” he said.
He said while this package of bills is very helpful, “I still think one of the underlying issues in New Jersey that needs more attention and doesn’t get it is affordability.”
“We did a lot of good things in our budget this past June but there was a lack, a startling lack of focus on small business affordability in the budget," he said.
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