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Small Business Expansion Fund & Business Action Center to be Created to Create & Retain Jobs and Keep New Jersey competitive

(TRENTON) – Legislation Assembly Democrats Albert Coutinho, Daniel R. Benson, Troy Singleton and Wayne DeAngelo sponsored to create jobs and economic development to combat New Jersey’s continued high unemployment rate was approved Monday by the Assembly.
The bills build upon previous Democratic job creation efforts and would:
· Create a loan program within the New Jersey Economic Development Authority to help small businesses expand. (A-4336 sponsored by Benson, Coutinho, Singleton and DeAngelo). It was approved 52-23-3, giving it final legislative approval.
· Establish the New Jersey Business Action Center to help New Jersey-based companies stay competitive. (A-4337 sponsored by Coutinho and Singleton). It was approved 47-29-2. It will now be referred to the Senate.
“Nothing is more important right now than doing whatever we can to help New Jerseyans and the businesses that employ them survive this difficult economy,” said Coutinho (D-Essex), chairman of the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee that released the bills. “Creating jobs and economic growth is a must, and with this bill package, we’re positioning New Jersey businesses to succeed in the 21st century. That can only be a good thing for our residents.”
“We cannot rest easy when unemployment continues to hover above 9 percent,” said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex. “We need to do more, and this legislation aims to ensure New Jersey businesses are as competitive as possible so they can thrive and create new jobs. Strengthening our economy to ensure residents can find work is a priority.”
“I promised to make job creation and economic growth top priorities, and these bills are a great step toward making that goal reality,” Singleton said. “Making it easier for small businesses to expand and taking steps to ensure our businesses remain competitive will lead to more jobs for working class families striving to make ends meet. That will mean a stronger New Jersey for everyone.”
“Small businesses are the lifeblood of this state, and we need to do everything we can to help them expand, invest and hire residents,” said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “Working families in New Jersey benefit when small business thrive. That’s why this bill is so vital.”
One bill (A-4336) would require the EDA to establish a small business loan program offering low interest loans of up to $250,000 to eligible small businesses for purposes that increase total employment. Generally, the interest rate on the loans would be 2 percent. If the loan results in a greater increase in employment or the target increase is met more quickly, the authority could allow the rate to fall below 2 percent if the business commits to increasing its full-time employment level:
· by more than 10 percent, or more than one full-time employee for businesses employing less than 10 full-time employees at the time of application, or
· by no less than 10 percent, or one full-time employee, as appropriate, in less than four calendar years after the date on which the loan funds are disbursed to the business, or
· a combination thereof.
The rate of interest corresponds appropriately to the percentage of full-time employment increase or the decrease in time to increase employment, or a combination of both, to which the business commits. A participating business in default for nonperformance may be required to refund the outstanding balance of small business loans disbursed prior to the default declaration. A small business loan is secured by a first lien on the receivables of the business entity receiving the loan.
An eligible small business will be considered an entity that, at the time of application for participation in the small business loan program:
· is independently owned and operated;
· is organized for profit with a place of business located in this state;
· operates primarily within this state;
· has less than 100 full-time employees;
· is not dominant in its field;
· has not raised $10,000,000 or more in total equity financing; and
· has not received $10,000,000 or more in financing from any Dest.
The other bill (A-4337) would officially create the New Jersey Business Action Center within the Department of State. The center is intended to be the state’s liaison to the business community and provide information about state financial and incentive programs; state taxes; permits, licenses, certificates and other governmental approvals; state regulations; available commercial real estate and international trade.