Business Report: State budget, New Jersey unemployment, wind industry jobs, Black-owned businesses

NJBIA says with revenues coming in better than anticipated, there is no need to raise taxes

With Gov. Phil Murphy’s budget address set for next week, the business community has suggestions for getting the economy back on track. Michele Siekerka of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association says that with revenues coming in better than anticipated, there is no need to raise taxes. She says there should be a focus on reinvesting in businesses and workers.

Fewer New Jersey residents filed for first-time jobless claims in the latest week. According to the state labor department, 11,563 workers filed new claims, the lowest number since the pandemic led to business shutdowns. However, since March more than 2 million New Jersey residents have filed for unemployment.

Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind is pledging to train union workers in New Jersey for jobs in the wind industry. The company signed a memorandum of understanding with six labor unions in the state. Atlantic Shores submitted its bid with the Board of Public Utilities in December to build an offshore wind project in South Jersey. The BPU is expected to make its decision later this year.

An effort to get much-needed money into the hands of struggling minority business owners is being undertaken by the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey and New Jersey Community Capital, which have joined together to form the Equitable Small Business Initiative. This will provide $5 million in capital to Black-owned businesses most affected by the pandemic. Even before COVID-19, Black owners of businesses historically have had difficulties getting access to capital. Business owners can apply for funds starting in early April.

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