BY GEORGE N. SALIBA, MANAGING EDITOR ON JUL 28, 2020
New Jersey is injecting $15 million of its federal CARES Act funding into the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s (NJEDA’s) Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program, Gov. Phil Murphy said today at an event in North Brunswick. The money will aid businesses that had already completed applications for assistance, but for which there previously were not enough monies.
The NJEDA’s CEO Tim Sullivan said of the $15 million, “We’ll look forward to rolling this funding out. As I think it was pretty widely reported, we were oversubscribed for all the funding we have had, so this will allow us to say ‘yes’ to more of the applications that are in hand, particularly [for locations] where there wasn’t direct money provided to counties to support their small businesses.”
He added, “This money will go fast – and it will go far – because we know there is significant need out there as this pandemic continues to be with us, and as the economic crisis continues to be such a huge challenge.”
The Governor’s Office says the NJEDA’s Small Business Emergency Grant Program was launched in April with $10 million in NJEDA funds, and was later expanded with $50 million in CARES Act funds.
“Our small businesses are the backbone of our economy,” Murphy said at today’s event. “More New Jerseyans work for a small business than anywhere else. Seeing both businesses and employees emerge from this pandemic strong and ready for the times ahead is critical to the success of our overall restart and recovery. Strong and resilient small businesses need a strong and resilient economy – and a strong and resilient New Jersey.”
Regarding the $50 million in the previous funding phase, the NJEDA devoted 20% of monies toward minority-owned businesses, and 24% to women-owned businesses. Sullivan said overall, “… these are firms that even in good times struggle to access capital as much as the rest of the economy. So, it has been a really intentional focus of Governor Murphy and our entire team to provide a suite of resources particularly focused on historically underserved communities.”
In response to today’s $15 million announcement, New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA) President and CEO Michele Siekerka said in statement: “NJBIA thanks Governor Murphy and his administration for this additional allocation to help New Jersey small businesses and nonprofits, whose bottom lines continue to be decimated by months of closures and reopenings with very limited capacity.
“NJEDA’s programs have been a vital lifeline for our small businesses. However, we also know they have been oversubscribed. The needs of our businesses are broad and we know that additional federal stimulus money remains on the sidelines.
“For New Jersey’s economic health, these funds and more CARES Act money must continue to be made available to our businesses. It is also critical that, as a state, we do not cut into these much-needed grants by imposing new costs on businesses through proposed mandates, taxes and fees.”
Murphy meanwhile said that he was “not very optimistic” about receiving additional federal funding for New Jersey; he said on Friday that the state needed another $20 billion in direct federal aid, in addition to the $2.4 billion CARES Act funding it already received.
“So, right now, borrowing is all we have got,” he said today, in apparent reference to the State Legislature’s approval to potentially borrow up to $9.9 billion, a move which faces legal challenges surrounding whether or not such borrowing is constitutional.
Murphy added, “We have also put the word out that we will consider revenues. We have [additionally] put the word out to all of our departments and agencies; Tim [Sullivan] is on the receiving end of this – that we expect significant cuts in budgets. There is nothing new, per se, on the specifics of the borrowing.”
He also said, “We are still in the process of putting our budget together, and it will be much more evident and much clearer when the budget comes together, which will have to come together before a month from now.”
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