Business Report: Lawmakers propose giving residents $500 ‘back to work’ payment

U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer says it would help to address the worker shortage that some businesses face

There’s no shortage of ideas on what the Murphy administration should do with the $6 billion in federal COVID-19 relief funds the state has received. The latest idea was offered by U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-5th), who says the state should consider giving residents a $500 “back to work” payment. Gottheimer says that would help to address the worker shortage facing some businesses. Under his plan, the bonus would be given to an unemployed state resident if they start a job on August 1 and keep that employment through September 1.

Meantime, Senate President Steve Sweeney says some of the federal funding should be used for workforce development. Speaking at a recent town hall hosted by the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce and the New Jersey Business & Industry Association, he said targeted spending like that would help New Jersey’s economy.

Some unemployed residents may see a delay in their payments this week. According to the state labor department, that’s because some technical upgrades were made to the department’s website last week.

A group of residents and two community groups have sued the Piscataway township zoning board over a plan for new warehouse development. The suit is believed to be the first example of a community legal challenge to a surge in warehouse construction in the state. The lawsuit contends the board was wrong to approve the project in an area zoned for rural and residential, and that fumes from truck traffic would hurt children and staff at a nearby elementary school. The approved plan calls for 900,000 square feet of warehouse development.

New Jersey could become a top player in the esports industry in the U.S. Dave Rebuck, director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, says the state is one of only two in the country with the technological infrastructure in place to support the expansion of esports into a gaming environment. Rebuck spoke at a recent virtual discussion on the topic hosted by the Greater Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce.

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