Not One Democrat Has Signed on to Efforts to Stop Massive Tax on NJ Employers
Senator Jim Holzapfel and Assemblymen Greg McGuckin and John Catalano today lamented the absence of even a single Democrat legislator on a petition that would require a special legislative session to spare local employers from the punishing impact of an imminent tax increase to replenish New Jersey’s Unemployment Insurance Fund.
Senator Jim Holzapfel and Assemblymen Greg McGuckin and John Catalano lamented the absence of even a single Democrat legislator on a petition that would require a special legislative session to spare local employers from the punishing impact of an imminent tax increase to replenish NJ’s Unemployment Insurance Fund. (Pixabay)
“Not one single Democrat has been willing to break rank with the Governor and support the state’s Main Street businesses, mom-and-pop shops, and restaurants that have suffered every day since the pandemic emerged,” said Holzapfel. “Some of our Democrat colleagues issued press releases criticizing Murphy’s plan to restore the UI Fund on the backs of small employers, but they won’t step up to prevent a devastating tax hike that will assuredly force even more businesses to close their doors forever. The tax increase is coming, and it is time for the Democrats to put up or shut up. The State economy depends on it.”
The petition circulated by Senate and Assembly Republicans on Sept. 1 would constitutionally require the governor to call a special session if signed by a majority of the members of each house of the Legislature.
With all Republicans on board, the signatures of just seven Democrats in the Senate and 13 in the General Assembly are needed to provide the majority in each house to force Governor Murphy to call a special session of the Legislature pursuant to Article IV, Section I, paragraph 4 of the New Jersey Constitution.
“Murphy’s new $250 million tax on Shore employers and small businesses across the state is poorly conceived and avoidable,” said McGuckin. “There are better options, and that’s why we need to bring the legislators back to Trenton and solve the problem without crushing more businesses that are hanging on by a thread after Murphy’s extended COVID shutdown. The Governor is taking the easy way out, ignoring alternatives to restore unemployment without a huge tax increase. If a handful of the majority Democrats get their priorities straight, this can be rectified by a special session of the Legislature.”
Since March, Republicans have been calling for Murphy to stabilize New Jersey’s UI Fund with a portion of the billions in federal pandemic relief funds that have been delivered to New Jersey, a solution since employed by dozens of other states. The Governor, however, has insisted on imposing an unnecessary payroll tax increase on employers to maintain the solvency of the fund. The impact of the hike would be felt when employers file quarterly taxes by Oct. 30.
Despite having billions in pandemic relief funds that could stabilize the UI Fund immediately, the unemployment fund’s deficit has more than tripled over the past month to $235 million, with borrowed funds accruing interest as of Sept. 6.
“We have a better way to restore the fund but Murphy refuses to budge and the Democrat food-dragging is blocking the path,” Catalano said. “If we can’t get both sides together to hammer out a bipartisan solution, the outcome will do even more damage to a state economy that has been put through the ringer by Murphy’s closing and arbitrary decisions. More workers will lose jobs and be forced into the unemployment system.”
According to the nonpartisan Office of Legislative Services, only 2% of the $6.2 billion received by New Jersey in May from the federal government through the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act has been spent by the Murphy administration.
“The state has the money in the bank. There’s no reason not to spend a fraction of it to bolster unemployment,” Holzapfel said. “It makes no sense to clobber employers again when federal funds intended for this kind of purpose are just collecting dust. Let’s put it to work and save jobs.”
Other states, including Nevada and Ohio, repaid their federal unemployment loans in full prior to Sept. 6 using monies they received through ARP to avoid unnecessary interest charges.
The Murphy administration has projected New Jersey’s UI Fund deficit will grow to more than $1 billion by the end of the fiscal year, and taxpayers will be stuck with the bill.
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