Legislation to Bolster New Jersey Small Business Resiliency Clears Assembly Panel

Seeking to bolster the pandemic recovery of New Jersey’s more than 950,000 small businesses, legislation designed to grow jobs, streamline state programs and reduce barriers to entry for entrepreneurs seeking to start a new business or grow an existing business were advanced by the Assembly Community Development and Affairs Committee on Monday.

“The resilience of New Jersey’s small businesses – the backbone of our economy – continues to be a priority for the Assembly,” said Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin (D-Middlesex). “Our legislative package builds on existing investments into pandemic recovery for small businesses throughout the State, providing the tools and resources necessary for entrepreneurs to find long-term success.”

“All New Jerseyans stand to benefit from the bills advanced in committee today, which aim to create a healthy community where businesses are able to thrive. Small businesses continue to be the backbone of New Jersey communities, creating jobs and helping to uplift local economies,” said Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter (D-Bergen, Passaic), Chair of the Assembly Community Development and Affairs Committee. “With this legislative package, we are expanding economic opportunities for our residents.”

The nine-bill package, seven bills of which were approved today, would cut through bureaucratic red tape that hamstrings small business growth while also establishing new programs to mentor startups and empowering state government to help small business owners navigate real estate transactions and grow sales through the Internet.

“A database of vacant commercial space in New Jersey will be an invaluable tool for individuals looking to open a business in our State. Finding the right storefront can be an expensive and time-consuming task for new businesses. This resource will streamline the process of finding the right space for entrepreneurs in New Jersey,” said Assemblywoman Sadaf Jaffer (D-Somerset, Mercer, Middlesex, Hunterdon), lead sponsor of a bill (A-4750) requiring the BAC to establish a public database of vacant commercial space, which would contain information about square footage and available onsite capital equipment.

Another bill (A-4753) would offer critical relief to small businesses by providing a cure period for minor first-time violations that are not a matter of public safety.

“For small business owners, the fines associated with minor violations can be a significant setback,” said Assemblyman Roy Freiman (D-Somerset, Mercer, Middlesex, Hunterdon), the bill’s lead sponsor. “By giving businesses the opportunity to fix harmless mistakes without being subjected to penalties, we make good on our commitment to create an environment that attracts new businesses to our State and allows those already here to prosper.”

Bill A-573 aims to expedite the construction inspection process by eliminating barriers that often cause lengthy delays.

“On a construction site, delays cost money. By codifying the required three-day inspection turnaround and allowing private on-site inspection agencies to complete inspections, we ensure things can move along expeditiously,” said Assemblyman Rob Karabinchak (D-Middlesex). “This will help new businesses avoid additional startup costs and open their doors to the public faster.”

The legislative package also includes measures to provide small business owners with valuable resources that will help their businesses grow and thrive.

The following seven bills from the nine-bill legislative package were advanced by the Assembly Community Development and Affairs Committee on Monday:

 

A-573

Karabinchak/ Freiman/ Calabrese/ Greenwald

 

Provides for expedited construction inspections.

 

A-4748

Moriarty/ Haider/ Sampson

Enhances customer service experience with Business Action Center in Department of State by collecting and disseminating customer assistance metrics.

 

A-4749

Coughlin/ Swain/ Timberlake

 

Requires NJ Business Action Center to collect and produce certain information to assist small businesses.

 

A-4750

Jaffer/ Caputo/ Atkins

Vacant Storefront Registry Program; establishes public database of vacant commercial space for small businesses.

 

A-4751

Mosquera/ Speight/ DeAngelo

 

Establishes mentorship program for new businesses and start-ups.

 

A-4752

Tully/ Benson/ Chaparro

 

Promotes small business Internet presence.

 

A-4753

Freiman/ Park/ Lampitt

Allows cure period for businesses to address and resolve certain violations.

 

 

Two additional bills from the legislative package, A-2146 and A-3424, were reported out of the Assembly Community Development and Affairs Committee earlier this session.