Senator Declan O’Scanlon today voiced dismay that Senate Democrats are dragging their feet on legislation to preserve jobs and help struggling companies while government pressure and COVID restrictions continue to threaten the viability of thousands of New Jersey businesses.
Sen. Declan O’Scanlon criticized Senate Democrats for failing to act on a bipartisan bill to appropriate $300 million in federal money to help struggling businesses. (Pixabay)
“We’re seeing yet another half-hearted effort by Trenton’s partisan leadership on behalf of forlorn employers,” said O’Scanlon (R-13). “Even with billions of dollars coming in from Washington, the Democrats refuse to take seriously the reality that thousands of enterprises will be lost without immediate help. Businesses have been driven to the brink by government action, and many won’t survive without support. Today was a chance to assist them, and the Democrat leadership failed to deliver.”
On a day when the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee was set to vote on almost 20 bills prior to Thursday’s voting session, the most relevant measure for the State’s business community was forgotten.
Conspicuously absent from the committee agenda was a bill appropriating $300 million to help small business and not-for-profit corporations. The measure, S-3457, is sponsored by O’Scanlon, Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean, Senator Mike Testa, and Democrats including Senate President Steve Sweeney, and would appropriate $300 million in federal money to the Economic Development Authority to help save jobs and businesses and grow the economy.
“It is in everyone’s best interest to save these businesses from going under,” said O’Scanlon. “There’s no time to wait. Every passing day means more employers will reach the end of the line and be forced to shut down and dump their dedicated workers in the unemployment lines.
“When companies close their doors, it reverberates through the whole economy. The time it takes for the economy to bounce back is extended significantly by job losses and business failures,” O’Scanlon said. “If we can help them remain open for business, recovery can be much quicker.”
The budget committee approved five other bills appropriating from $10 million to $35 million in federal money to EDA for childcare centers, arts and culture organizations, microbusinesses and food and beverage establishments.
“These bills are nothing more than a drop in the bucket. Without the $300 million, they don’t come close to covering critical needs,” said O’Scanlon. “S-3457 can deliver the real assistance necessary to help keep businesses afloat. It’s disappointing the Democrats don’t appreciate the seriousness of the situation.”