Senator Steven Oroho (R-24) said the State must do more to support New Jersey’s small businesses after a new survey found that 60% of business owners were planning on or considering shutting down their businesses due to the continuing challenges of the pandemic.
“We should be extremely concerned when nearly 60% of business owners tell us they are ready or willing to shut their doors for good due to government mandates and restrictions, lower revenues, and other challenges related to operating in New Jersey during the pandemic,” said Oroho, the Senate Republican Budget Officer and incoming Republican Leader. “If the Murphy administration continues to ignore the warning signs, we could be on our way to mass business closures and millions more unemployed. It’s another reason Governor Murphy must consider a comprehensive plan to use billions in federal relief funds effectively.”
According to the NJBIA 63rd Annual Business Outlook Survey, the pandemic challenges of “staffing, mandates, restrictions and lower revenue” have caused many business owners to re-evaluate keeping their businesses.
28% said they will look to sell or cease their business sooner than previously anticipated due to continued obstacles, while 31% said they are still determining if their plans will change.
The survey follows an NJBIA report from March which said nearly one-third of New Jersey businesses had ceased operations since the beginning of 2020.
Oroho pointed to the survey results and prior business failures, which led to 2 million unemployed New Jerseyans at some point during the pandemic, as proof the Murphy administration needs a clear strategy to lift unnecessary mandates and invest substantially in business support programs to give struggling employers an alternative to shutting down.
“The Murphy administration is sitting on billions in federal relief funds that could help small businesses to keep the lights on and workers employed,” added Oroho. “Instead of an effective and comprehensive relief plan, the administration is releasing little dribs and drabs of funding in a way that’s not really helping anyone. Hopefully, the NJBIA survey is a wake-up call for the Murphy administration. There’s a coming crisis of New Jersey business closures and job losses that can be prevented.”
In April, Senate Republicans put forward a comprehensive plan for using the $6.2 billion in federal pandemic relief funds sent to New Jersey through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
The Republican plan included $1 billion for business and nonprofit assistance for employers recovering from COVID-19 revenue losses, $2.5 billion to restore stability to the state’s Unemployment Insurance Fund to prevent payroll tax increases on employers, and $1.5 billion for capital projects in the State.
Tomorrow, the Joint Budget Oversight Committee (JBOC) will consider a plan from the Murphy administration to spend several hundred million dollars of the billions in ARPA funds that remain unspent.
Oroho, a member of the JBOC, has called the administration’s plan “grossly incomplete,” saying, “it fails to address key needs for New Jersey.”