To provide crucial aid to businesses suffering after three months of strangling COVID restrictions, Senator Declan O’Scanlon and Senator Michael Testa will introduce an act to appropriate $100 million of federal grant money to the state’s Economic Development Authority (EDA) to support small business programs.
“The state received the money from Washington six weeks ago, but Murphy is inexplicably sitting on it while our economy tanks and companies falter,” said O’Scanlon. “The business community is being crushed by the pandemic, and many companies are on the brink of failure. They need help, and committing a portion of the more than $2 billion in COVID relief funds to help rescue struggling employers will save thousands of jobs and help fuel a robust recovery for the state’s economy. Dedicating this federal money to small and mid-size companies is an investment in a stronger New Jersey.”
O’Scanlon noted Murphy has also been slow to act on another bill he sponsors, A3959 / S2371, which allocates $100 million of the funds to hospitality. Also sponsored by Testa, that bill passed both the Senate and Assembly on May 14 and awaits enactment by the Governor.
Under O’Scanlon and Testa’s new measure, the $100 million would flow through the EDA to fund loans or grants to business to compensate for costs associated with interruptions due to any state-required closure during the coronavirus crisis.
“The excruciating state shutdown has gone on for too long, and without immediate financial relief, businesses will close their doors forever,” said Testa (R-1). “Rather than holding onto every dollar and making our revenue situation worse, Murphy should be rushing funding out the door so businesses don’t go belly-up and they have the resources necessary to reopen safely. Murphy’s feeble handling of this crisis is placing mom-and-pop businesses at great risk. As many as 20 percent of restaurants and food businesses may not survive long enough to re-open for customers. This money can be the difference-maker for many enterprises that are facing serious financial problems and an uncertain future.”