Murphy signs bill allocating $25 million for New Jersey microbusinesses

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Gov. Phil Murphy has signed into law a bill allocating $25 million in federal COVID-19 relief aid for microbusinesses across New Jersey.

“Main Street businesses have always been the backbone of our economy and unfortunately have been the hardest hit during the pandemic,” Murphy said in a news release. “This bill, along with others I’ll sign later this month, will help thousands of businesses keep their doors open as we climb out of the economic hardships wrought by COVID-19.”

S-3523 is part of a five-bill, $100 million effort lawmakers are pushing to help businesses throughout the Garden State. It allocates $25 million for microbusinesses with five or fewer full-time employees, which lawmakers amended down from 10 employees.

“In the last year, small businesses across the state have been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with many being forced to permanently close their doors due to a lack of revenue,” state Sen. Joseph Lagana, D-Paramus, said in a news release. “Our employees and business owners have been hurt badly, especially in the smaller economies throughout the state. It is crucial to provide the support needed for our businesses to remain open and once again thrive in communities across New Jersey.”

Collectively, the bills would grant the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) $100 million. Both houses of the state Legislature have also passed A-5444, which allocates $35 million for restaurants and bars; A-5446, which designates $15 million for businesses and nonprofits; S-3521, which gives $15 million for arts and cultural organizations; and A-5445, earmarks $10 million for child care centers.

“Small businesses are the heart and soul of our communities,” NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan said in a news release. “While these businesses have been hit the hardest by COVID-19, the resilience and ingenuity of business owners and their employees throughout the pandemic has been inspiring.”

Under S-3523, the NJEDA may use up to 5% of the funds to cover administrative expenses incurred implementing the measure.

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