With the start of the new year and the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to affect all aspects of life, the New Jersey Legislature stayed busy with virtual hearings focused on business and resident assistance and the state’s economic recovery, as well as taking up many non-COVID-19 related issues. The Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey (CCSNJ) has remained active and engaged during these virtual hearings on behalf of our members and the entire South Jersey business community.

The CCSNJ was the only business organization from southern New Jersey to testify on the FY2022 state budget proposal, as delivered by Governor Phil Murphy on February 23, 2021. While there were some positives, including no new taxes or fees, there was also no measures that addressed the state’s long-term affordability crisis. The CCSNJ will remain engaged in the budget process to advocate for more government-wide cost saving measures, as well as further assistance for small, women and minority owned businesses struggling from the pandemic.

Additionally, the CCSNJ is close to finalizing a policy document on what the business community needs from state government to prepare for the “next normal” life in a post-pandemic environment. The CCSNJ looks forward to sharing this document with our members, the Murphy Administration, Legislature and other government leaders in the near future.

The CCSNJ continues to be in constant contact with the Murphy Administration and Legislature to help ascertain the information and facilitate the connections that our valued members desperately need as New Jersey begins its economic recovery from the pandemic.

Proposed FY2022 State Budget

On February 23, 2021 Governor Phil Murphy delivered the FY2022 state budget address via a pre-reordered speech, streamed live to the Legislature and the public. 

In his speech, the Governor proposed an enormous $44.8 billion budget that included no new or increased taxes or fees for the first time during his tenure in office. This proposal also included a $200 million commitment to the New Jersey Wind Port located in Paulsboro, Gloucester County, $50 million to the Main Street Recovery Program, dedicated to helping small businesses recover from the pandemic, and a sizable charity care contribution for South Jersey hospitals. Additionally, for the first time since 1996 the Governor committed to making a full pension payment, a measure the CCSNJ initially applauded but remains disappointed to learn some of the payment is likely to be made with money borrowed last fall – which the CCSNJ opposed – which will only add to the state’s long-term debt obligation. The Legislature will continue its assessment of the proposed budget over the next several months with a final budget decided no later than June 30, 2021.

The CCSNJ was proud to support a package of bills sponsored by Assembly Majority Leader Louis D. Greenwald that would provide relief to struggling restaurants and other businesses as they navigate their economic recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As always, your feedback is important to us.

If you have any comments, questions or suggestions please contact Hilary Chebra, Manager, Government Affairs, at hchebra@chambersnj.com or by clicking here.