Business Report: GOP lawmakers urge halt to payroll tax increase on employers

Sen. Tom Kean Jr. says the last thing NJ business owners need now is a tax increase

It’s too early to know the financial losses that will be incurred from the floods that swept through businesses as well as homes in New Jersey Wednesday night. State Sen. Tom Kean Jr., who said downtowns in his district were hit hard, said the storm is just the latest blow for businesses and the last thing they need now is a tax increase.

Republican members of the Legislature are circulating a petition for Gov. Phil Murphy to hold a special legislative session to prevent a payroll tax increase on employers. They want the governor to use federal COVID-19 relief funds to replenish the Unemployment Insurance Fund rather than put that burden on businesses. Kean wants Democrats in the Legislature to back the effort. Several Democrats have already joined their Republican colleagues in calling on the governor to use federal funds to help businesses.

New filings for first-time unemployment claims fell to their lowest level since March 2020, when the pandemic led to lockdowns of the economy.  The number of jobless workers who have been collecting unemployment for some time is also decreasing. Meantime, millions of workers across the country will be losing their expanded federal unemployment benefits in just a few days.

A federal judge has conditionally approved a bankruptcy plan submitted by Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, that would settle a mountain of lawsuits against it, while also giving the company’s billionaire owners legal immunity. Under the settlement, the Sackler family would be shielded from current and future lawsuits, would give up ownership of the company and contribute $4.5 billion. Purdue Pharma would be reorganized into a new company and would be required to funnel its profits into government-led efforts to prevent and treat opioid addiction.

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