Senator Declan O’Scanlon (R-13) and Senator Michael Testa (R-1) sent a letter (click here for PDF) today to Governor Phil Murphy, Senate President Steve Sweeney, and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin urging for a special session of the Legislature to be convened to adopt an emergency aid package for small businesses and nonprofits impacted by COVID-19.
Sen. Declan O’Scanlon and Sen. Michael Testa sent a letter to Gov. Phil Murphy, Senate President Steve Sweeney, and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin urging a special legislative session to adopt an emergency aid package for small businesses and nonprofits impacted by COVID-19. (Pixabay)
The senators, both members of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee, sponsor S-3210, which appropriates $300 million of the CARES Act relief funds received by the State to the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) to provide financial support, such as loans or grants, to small businesses and not-for-profit organizations for the costs associated with business operation interruptions caused by any State-required closures due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Their letter follows this weekend’s call by Republican legislative leaders for a special session to consider the measure.
The full text of the letter from O’Scanlon and Testa is below:
Dear Governor Murphy, Senate President Sweeney, and Assembly Speaker Coughlin:
Last week, we introduced S-3210, together with Senators Oroho and Thompson as cosponsors. The legislation appropriates $300 million to support small businesses and nonprofits whose viability is in question due to COVID-19 restrictions and impacts. The bill is carefully worded to require the appropriation to be paid with federal CARES Act funding if available, but is deliberately worded to allow the funds to come from the General Fund if necessary.
This weekend, our Senate and Assembly Republican leaders and budget officers called for an emergency session of the Legislature to pass the bill. Without your support, more of the small businesses and nonprofits that make up the backbone of every Main Street in New Jersey will close their doors forever. Small restaurants, community theaters, and cultural and entertainment venues that are a source of pride for the families that run them — and income for the employees who work in them — will needlessly fail.
While you have proposed using of $450 million of CARES Act funds to pay the salaries of longstanding State employees, it has long been our belief that using CARES funds for nonprofit and small business support is more in keeping with the spirit of what federal funds were intended to accomplish.
However, as noted, we have intentionally written our legislation to allow you to draw the $300 million for nonprofit and small business support from the General Fund should that be your desire. The State will have a surplus in excess of $2.5 billion by the end of this year that can be tapped for this purpose. As we have demonstrated, any claims that this bill might interfere with other planned CARES Act expenditures are simply false.
We implore you to do that right thing and join us in calling a special session of the Legislature to provide a critical lifeline to the struggling nonprofits and small businesses across New Jersey that otherwise might not survive the winter. They need our support, and they need it now.
Senator Declan O’Scanlon
13th Legislative District
Senator Michael Testa
1st Legislative District
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