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Craig Coughlin at the groundbreaking for the new Portal North Bridge. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe).

Assembly Dems propose new bill package to help small businesses

Murphy, Coughlin both said small businesses would be a focus this year

By Joey Fox, October 06 2022 9:38 am

Assembly Democrats are proposing a nine-bill package, consisting of six new bills and three existing bills, to aid New Jersey’s small businesses as the disastrous impacts of the pandemic recede.

“Helping New Jersey’s small business community grow and thrive was one of the essential priorities we identified at the outset of this session,” Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-Woodbridge) said in a statement. “Together, this package gives business owners the tools they need to find success in the long run.”

Though other issues, such as guns and voting rights, have largely taken the forefront in the legislature this session, both Coughlin and Gov. Phil Murphy outlined small businesses as one of their priorities at the beginning of the year.

Among the new bills in the package are two that would improve the New Jersey Business Action Center’s data collection and transparency; one that would allow small businesses to cure minor first-time violations; one that would institute a tech corps to assist small business owners with online shopping infrastructure; one that would establish a small business mentorship program; and finally, one proposed by the speaker himself that would create a state manual for small business owners.

Three other bills had already been introduced but are still part of the new package: one making the state’s construction inspection program more efficient and two helping disadvantaged businesses get government contracts.

“Small businesses are still struggling in the aftermath of the pandemic, and we thank Speaker Coughlin and the members of his Assembly Majority Caucus for recognizing the need to provide these employers with assistance,” the New Jersey Business & Industry Association’s Christopher Emigholz said. “Their multifaceted package of bills will support small businesses by providing new business resources and making government more responsive to their ongoing needs.”

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