Trenton – Senators Dawn Addiego, Vin Gopal and Joseph Lagana today announced they are introducing legislation to provide the Economic Development Authority (EDA) with $235 million for grants to small businesses and non-profits to spur the economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Our legislation will provide $235 million in grants to help businesses and non-profits who were hit hard by the pandemic and are now deciding when and how to reopen, rehire and ramp up to full operation in the weeks and months ahead,” said Senator Addiego (D-Burlington), the lead sponsor on the bill package.
“The legislation sets aside $30 million specifically for restaurants, and most important, it includes a $25 million fund for the new restaurants, retailers and service providers that we need to fill the vacant storefronts in our downtown business districts left empty by businesses that closed,” she said.
The new $235 million in aid is in addition to the five-bill EDA package that was approved by the Legislature and signed into law by the governor last month. The $235 million aid package has the support of Governor Murphy, Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin.
“The restaurant, hospitality and tourism industries were crippled by the pandemic shutdown last spring and the continuing capacity restrictions that are just now being lifted sufficiently for them to be able to resume somewhat normal operations heading into the summer,” said Senator Gopal (D-Monmouth). “These new grants will be a big help.”
The Senate legislation provides $120 million for microbusinesses; $50 million for other small businesses and non-profits; $30 million for restaurants, including $10 million for the Sustain and Serve NJ program that supports the bulk purchasing of meals from New Jersey restaurants for soup kitchens and non-profits; $25 million for new start-up businesses, and $10 million for child care facilities. The EDA will announce a grant application process for the programs after the legislation is enacted.
“Small businesses are not only the backbone of our downtowns, but the biggest generators of job growth, and we are going to need that private sector job growth when all of the federal aid and incentives go away in September,” said Senator Lagana (D-Bergen). “We need to do all we can to keep our existing small businesses afloat and help new businesses emerge.”