The following is an op-ed submitted by Michele N. Siekerka, president and CEO of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association. The New Jersey Business Coalition is a group of more than 40 leading business groups advocating for the needs of small business in the wake of the COVID-19 response.

In these extraordinary times, New Jersey’s business and nonprofit community has put the health, welfare and safety of its workforce, its customers and its supply chain at the forefront, while also realizing the unprecedented financial hardship the spread of the coronavirus is having on their ability to keep their operations afloat and their workers employed.

The recent legislative actions by Gov. Murphy and our legislators to address some of the impacts of the COVID-19 response were swift and meaningful, as was the work to stand up emergent financial programs by the NJEDA. We thank our policymakers for these actions.

As the pandemic continues, it is paramount that we address the next round of critically-needed policy: initiatives that will continue to bring relief to our job creators and our workforce, while also looking at what will be needed for New Jersey’s economy to recover at a rapid pace. The urgency to bring further relief cannot be understated.

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That’s why the New Jersey Business Coalition — a respected roster of more than 40 major business and nonprofit associations representing employers that provide millions of jobs in New Jersey — have put forth recommendations for a COVID-19 Legislative and Administrative Relief Package.

These proposals will bring immediate assistance to many small business, nonprofits and independent contractors who now find themselves teetering on the brink of solvency and survival. The coalition is in broad agreement that the greater collective of these suggested actions will be needed — and needed now — to protect businesses, their employees and New Jersey’s economy on the whole.

Fourteen of our recommendations will bring instant relief to New Jersey job creators without impacting state revenues. They include common-sense ideas like ensuring an employer’s unemployment insurance taxes will not increase due to uncontrollable layoffs during a public health crisis, and extending state and local permits on projects that may be delayed at this time.

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We also recommend the creation of an Economic Recovery Coordinator in the Governor’s Office to streamline all fiscal relief initiatives, and appropriately relaxing certain rules and regulations with regard to reporting requirements and licensing. This will help everyone be better focused on the public health crisis and its impact on our economy.

We also offer another 10 proposals for economic relief dependent on federal aid to cover new state spending or foregone state revenues. These include a short-term suspension of sales, payroll and gas tax remittance for small businesses forced to close or significantly scale back their business model. These would be most applicable and beneficial to those in the restaurant and hospitality industry, personal care service and other non-essential retail businesses.

Providing tax credits for businesses paying employees who cannot work would be another helpful, common-sense measure. We also recommend support for businesses needing to pay increased sick and federal leave costs, but are struggling to meet payroll obligations. We offer grants be provided to small businesses and nonprofits that have donated and/or were required to contribute PPE supplies during this crisis.

Our full list of recommendations to Murphy and the Legislature can be found here.

New Jersey small businesses and nonprofits are the heartbeat of our economy. Doing all that we can to keep them stronger now will mean a quicker recovery and a stronger economy later. We look forward to working with our policymakers to take action now.