Business Report: PPE grants, proposed arts tax, new NJ health care exchange

Gov. Phil Murphy announces the launch of the state’s official health insurance marketplace

The state’s Economic Development Authority on Wednesday formally approved expanding grant and personal-protective-equipment access programs to businesses. This follows Gov. Phil Murphy’s announcement Tuesday that he was releasing $70 million in federal funds for programs to help businesses. Even with the additional funds, Economic Development Authority CEO Tim Sullivan expects to see more demand than there is money available. The EDA will open pre-registration for grant applicants on Monday, Oct. 19.

Meantime, leaders in Hoboken say they have distributed $1.8 million in federal CARES Act money that the city received to more than 300 businesses.

In Jersey City, Mayor Steven Fulop is asking residents to support a long-term funding plan for arts and culture organizations. The November ballot includes a public question that asks the city’s voters to consider an arts and culture tax. The tax would amount to $20 a year for a property assessed at $100,000. Fulop notes that municipal taxes have not increased in Jersey City in five of the last seven years.

Just in time for open enrollment, the governor on Wednesday announced the launch of the state’s official health insurance marketplace, which is called Get Covered New Jersey. It’s been in the works for a while; it replaces healthcare.gov, the federal marketplace which provides coverage under the Affordable Care Act. The state claims the new exchange will offer lower health insurance premiums for eligible residents.