Business Report: Red tape legislation, unemployment claims, diversity commitment, restaurant grant program

Gov. Phil Murphy nixes bill that business groups say would have cut red tape

Business groups aren’t happy that Gov. Phil Murphy has vetoed a bill they say would have cut red tape. The bill would have set up a commission to review rules, regulations, executive orders and mandates for businesses. The legislation had bipartisan support, and one of its sponsors, Sen. Steven Oroho (R-Sussex), says the commission would have made government more efficient and produced savings for taxpayers.

Weekly unemployment claims continue to drop. The number of workers filing new claims hit a low since the pandemic began. Jobless claims in the U.S. fell to 498,000, a sign that more workers are finding jobs.

Companies have had a renewed focus on diversity and inclusion this past year, but now some state business groups want New Jersey’s leaders to start taking action. The New Jersey Business & Industry Association and the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey together have come up with a CEO pledge. It asks executives to commit to specific diversity goals. Beyond hiring more Black workers, the CEOS must also commit to diversifying corporate boards.

New Jersey executives are finally ready to ditch Zoom or Teams for some face time with their colleagues. A small survey by the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce finds two-thirds of the state’s business leaders are ready to attend in-person networking events. Another 22% say they would consider attending events two to three months from now. The Chamber says 100 people responded to the poll.

Here’s another sign of just how much restaurants are reeling from the pandemic. The federal government’s New Restaurant Revitalization Fund grant program has seen a surge of applicants this week. The Small Business Administration says in the first 36 hours it received more than 186,000 applications from restaurants in all 50 states. No word yet on just how many of the applications were from New Jersey.

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