New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is sitting on $2.2 billion dollars in American Rescue Plan funding that could be used to replenish the state’s dwindling unemployment insurance fund, but so far he’s choosing not to.
Instead, Murphy has announced a $250 million small business tax hike to replenish the state’s unemployment coffers emptied by an extended unemployment benefits coverage many of those businesses actually opposed. Now, not only are New Jersey businesses struggling to find employees while they compete with the unemployment wages, they are being asked to pay for people who don’t want to return to work, despite a vibrant job market statewide.
When asked this week if he has changed his mind about his decision to put the unemployment deficit on the backs of already struggling businesses, Murphy insisted his actions are in the best interest of small business owners in New Jersey.
“I’d say nothing’s off the table, but we are constantly looking at ways to continue to put more money on the street for small businesses,” Murphy said. “We’re behind only California and New York, and they’re a lot bigger. They have a lot more small businesses than we do – of all American states since this pandemic began, but we’re constantly looking at programs. I had a conversation yesterday and expecting some sort of analysis on a potential step later on today, so we continue to find – want to find creative and robust ways to get money on the street for small businesses.”
In the meantime, he’ll be taking money off the street for small businesses when his $250 million tax hike kicks in on October 1st.
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