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Assembly Republicans: Democrats backpedal on help for small businesses

NEW JERSEY – At an Assembly session Monday, Assemblyman Hal Wirths moved to immediately pass $300 million in aid to small businesses and non-profits by motioning that his bill (A5085) be made the “order of the day,” which would set it up for debate and a floor vote. Assembly Democrats quickly voted to table the motion, including Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo, the first primary sponsor on the bill, Assembly Republicans said.

“It’s about time we say stand up and say enough is enough and stand up for our constituents and stand up for the small businesses in the state of New Jersey,” Wirths, the Assembly Republican budget officer (R-Sussex), said on the Assembly floor.  “If we really mean what we say and support small businesses, this bill should be passed today.”

The bill would provide funding to the state Economic Development Authority from the state’s federal CARES Act allocations received nearly a year ago. Governor Phil Murphy still has not spent as much as $450 million from that funding, and his proposed budget increases spending by $4.5 billion, which does not count on the $600 million the state will receive for agreeing to restructure the business model of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, and up to $6 billion from the federal government, Assembly Republicans said.

“As my colleagues in here know, over a third of businesses are closed right now with probably more closing unfortunately,” Wirths said.

The Senate introduced a bipartisan bill that includes more restrictions on the aid, such as limiting help to businesses with fewer than 50 employees. The Assembly has not introduced an identical version, and pulled four bills off Monday’s agenda that would have provided relief for restaurants and another implementing regional reopening plans to help areas of the state less affected by Covid-19, Assembly Republicans said.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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