Business Report: Unemployment bill, tax incentives, student debt

The Legislature has given final approval to a bill that will provide eight weeks of emergency unemployment benefits

A potential lifeline for thousands of New Jersey’s unemployed workers: The state Legislature has given final approval to a bill that will provide eight weeks of emergency unemployment benefits. Workers who have exhausted their state and federal benefits would be able to continue to collect unemployment through the end of February. The bill comes just in time for nearly 500,000 residents who are set to lose their federal benefits next week.

The Legislature is now focused on a $11.5 billion economic recovery plan that includes a new corporate tax incentive program. While business groups are supporting it, several opponents testified against the bill Friday, arguing that it is too generous and is being rushed through. Still, the bill won committee approval.

President-elect Joe Biden is being urged to forgive some of the $1.7 trillion owed in student loan debt. Recently, he received a letter from more than 200 organizations in support of debt cancellation. New Jersey Citizen Action was among those groups. In Washington this week, some House Democrats formally introduced a resolution calling for debt cancellation. A Senate resolution has also been put forward.