NJ will destroy even more small businesses unless we do this (Opinion)
There are more than 930,000 small and family-owned businesses in New Jersey. They account for more than 99% of all the businesses in New Jersey, employing about half of all Garden State workers.
In New Jersey and across America, small businesses serve as the backbone and the foundation for our economy. With so many small businesses crushed by the irresponsible and misguided full-lockdown policies pushed by the current governor and majority party, they need help, a lot of help.
Before the lockdowns caused the permanent shutdown of tens of thousands of businesses, our small business community was already struggling terribly with out-of-control and ever-increasing taxation and a regulatory burden not seen in any other state.
The impact of this government negligence has resulted in 28% of New Jersey small businesses planning to close sooner than they had previously anticipated with another 31% still determining whether they’ll close or sell within the next year.
NJ government must change course immediately. We need to lower the tax burden, alleviate the regulatory nightmare and create an environment of prosperity and growth.
To that end, we urge the legislature and the governor to implement our “Small Business Protection Act.”
As a first step, YOU can sign as a "Citizen Signer" HERE.
Here are my 10 common-sense steps to save and support New Jersey small businesses:
1. Lower Taxes, Reduce Regulation
New Jersey small businesses shall have the right to operate free of excessive government regulation and interference. There must be an audit of all current taxes and regulations in order to eliminate any unnecessary burden.
2. ALL Workers Are Essential
New Jersey small businesses shall be deemed essential and shall not be subject to arbitrary shut-down or stay-at-home orders related to a government-declared public health crisis. All NJ workers are essential.
3. Protection From Liability
New Jersey small businesses that follow workplace protocols as established by law, should receive limited liability protections during a public emergency and be protected retroactively from COVID-19 claims, including those who allowed for legal exemptions from executive orders during the COVID lockdowns. The threat of unknown and potentially unbounded liability to small businesses has left many small businesses vulnerable and has created an overpowering public necessity for an immediate and remedial solution.
4. Employment-At-Will Protection
New Jersey is an employment-at-will state and therefore, small businesses shall have the right to hire and terminate employees at will, for cause or misconduct without a guaranteed retention period and salary regardless of industry, ownership tenure, sale, or change of control.
5. Employee Retention Credit
New Jersey should institute an Employee Retention Tax Credit for all New Jersey small businesses that are hiring and maintaining staff in this challenging climate. This will lower the burden for small businesses doing everything in their power to stay open.
6. Eliminate Tax Increase for UI
NJ small businesses shall not pay unemployment insurance tax increases beyond their pre-lockdown UI payroll tax rate in scenarios where the increase in unemployment was not caused by their own actions, but rather from a government shutdown causing employers to place their workforce on unemployment for any period of time. Additionally, federal COVID relief money would be better spent on replenishing the fund instead of sending checks to residents who are here illegally.
7. Permanency of Regulatory Waivers
Where regulations are waived to meet public health needs and those waivers are deemed to create more efficiency and access for the workforce, customers, vendors, etc., and those waivers do not cause unnecessary disruption at the local level, those waivers shall be made permanent. These measures streamline business processes while maintaining consumer protections.
8. Small Businesses Are Also Property Owners
NJ small businesses that own land shall be properly recognized as “property owners” when it comes to property tax relief, reform, etc. NJ businesses pay almost 50% of property taxes in NJ and must be treated equally to other property owners, such as homeowners.
9. Immediate Tax Relief for COVID Lockdown Purchases
Small businesses shall receive tax deductions and credits for COVID lockdown-related purchases made while the governor's shutdown orders were in place. They did what they had to do to survive under an undue burden created by the Trenton government and they should see relief like outdoor dining. This would include supplies, infrastructure investment, and improved HVAC systems.
10. Establish a Small Business Protection Cabinet Level Officer
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The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Spadea. Any opinions expressed are Bill's own. Bill Spadea is on the air weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m., talkin’ Jersey, taking your calls at 1-800-283-1015.