|Image by Johi Smedberg from Pixabay|
By Bradford Mason
New Jersey is part of a coalition of several Northeastern states including New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Rhode Island and Massachusetts aimed at restoring the economy and getting people back to work. The coordinating group – comprised of one health expert, one economic development expert and the respective Chief of Staff from each state — will work together to develop a fully integrated regional framework to gradually lift the states’ stay at home orders while minimizing the risk of increased spread of the virus.
“No one has given more thought or is more eager to restart our economy than I am, but if we don’t get the sequencing right, we put more lives at risk,” Murphy said. “The only path to a sustainable economic recovery is through a strong healthcare recovery. Then, and only then, do we position ourselves to fully ignite our economy and get the residents of our state back to work while minimizing the danger of this disease. A coordinated, regional approach, informed by a multi-state council of experts, will help us avoid a major setback with potentially disastrous consequences.”
In Washington, New Jersey U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, along with Montana U.S Sen. and Steve Daines, recently unveiled a new $50 billion proposal to provide greater relief to small businesses left out of the Paycheck Protection Program, and urged Senate Leaders to include the bipartisan proposal in the next COVID-19 stimulus package.
In a letter sent o Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, the Senators outlined their proposal, which would create a $50 billion “Small Business Local Relief Fund” to provide direct assistance to cities, counties, and states to seed and scale local relief funds targeting businesses with 20 employees or less, or businesses with 50 employees or less located in low-income neighborhoods.
“By capitalizing new and existing local relief funds, we can open up more channels for distribution to help small businesses make payroll, pay rent, and otherwise weather this economic storm,” they wrote in the letter.
The Fund would “build on what is already working across the country,” the lawmakers wrote, “with a particular focus on businesses that are very small, minority-owned, rural, our outside the mainstream banking system.”
The New Jersey Economic Development Administration, which recently made available roughly 2,000 micro-grants to small businesses, received 10,000 applications within 75 minutes of opening its application portal.