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Gov. Phil Murphy signs a bill providing $25 million in grants to small businesses impacted by the pandemic. (Photo: Nikita Biryukov for the New Jersey Globe)

Murphy signs bill providing $25 million in small business aid

By Nikita Biryukov, April 01 2021 3:22 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law a bill providing up to $25 million in grants for small businesses impacted by the pandemic Thursday.

“Main Street businesses have always been the backbone of our economy and unfortunately have been the hardest hit during the pandemic,” Murphy said. “This bill, along with others I’ll sign later this month, will help thousands of businesses keep their doors open as we climb out of the economic hardships wrought by COVID-19.”

The program, funded by federal virus stimulus, would provide grants to small businesses with five or fewer fulltime employees.

“New Jersey never fully recovered from the Great Recession, and a lot of that was due to the limited relief residents, businesses and organizations received,” said state Sen. Dawn Addiego (D-Evesham), a sponsor. “Right now, we have an opportunity to learn from our mistakes and provide relief funding for those who have struggled over the past year, specifically microbusinesses. No more businesses should have to permanently close because of the pandemic, and this legislation will provide the assistance needed to prevent any more business closures.”

The Economic Development Authority will administer the program. The authority will also set the size of the awards.

The bill is one of five aid bills, with a total value of $100 million, Murphy is expected to sign into law this month.

“Microbusinesses are facing unprecedented challenges through no fault of their own because of this ongoing public health crisis,” said Assemblymen Gordon Johnson (D-Englewood), Roy Freiman (D-Hillsborough) and John Armato (D-Buena Vista), its Assembly sponsors. “Offering our support in these difficult times will help ensure these valuable enterprises can continue to succeed for years to come.”

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