the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Ridgewood NJ, Senator Michael Testa today challenged the Governor to do better after a press event Thursday announcing Murphy’s program for small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As usual, this over-hyped announcement was polished up with a fancy title and livestreamed on the Governor’s YouTube channel. Despite the Wall Street-style branding, the new program fails more small businesses than it helps,” said Testa (R-1). “Murphy can do better. Before the first application arrives, he should expand the program so it can help desperate mom-and-pop businesses in every corner of the state.
“There are 565 municipalities in New Jersey, and every one of them is home to businesses that are on the brink of failure from the coronavirus, yet only those based in 64 communities hand-picked by the Administration are eligible for help under the new program he announced,” Testa said. “Compounding the insult to employers across the state, Murphy has allocated only $6 million to this rental assistance program to help while he is sitting on more than $2.1 billion of federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act money unspent in a state account.”
Small firms that lease no more than 5,000 square feet of space in the 64 select locales – less than 12 percent of New Jersey’s towns – are eligible to apply for up to $10,000 in grants to help with lease costs municipalities through the program promoted as “Main Street Commercial Corridors Relief.”
“Ignoring the majority of the businesses in the state is bad enough, but when you realize the ‘favorites list’ includes two municipalities with some of the best commercial performances in the state, it is stunning,” said Testa. “How can Murphy defend sending money to Asbury Park and Jersey City and telling Main Street businesses elsewhere that they are out of luck?
“Once again, the Governor is playing favorites, picking winners, deciding which businesses survive and which die,” Testa said.
“It’s a joke that this relief is only available to a sliver of the state’s small employers. Now is the time to address the inequities in this program, before they even start accepting applications. Allocated more money, Governor, and help employers in all towns,” Testa said.