Schaer bill would reward big N.J. firms (with tax credit) for doing business with small N.J. firms

Assemblyman Gary Schaer keeps it simple: “Let’s understand that anything and everything that we can do as a state government to promote small business and to promote employment in New Jersey is what we want to do,” he said. “So often, small businesses are overlooked.”

Schaer (D-Passaic) is trying to make sure that won’t happen as the state tries to emerge from the COVID-19 shutdown.

On Friday, Schaer, the deputy speaker of the Assembly, introduced a bill that incentivizes companies to hire New Jersey-based small businesses. The bill allows for a 1% corporate business tax credit on work contracted to New Jersey businesses with fewer than 50 employees.

“Pre-pandemic, small businesses employed about half of New Jersey’s workforce,” Schaer said. “To ensure our complete economic recovery, we must find bold solutions to keep small businesses running.

“The bill is designed to help hasten New Jersey’s economic recovery by keeping more business in the state and helping more of the state’s small businesses survive, bringing much-needed stability to working families.”

Schaer trumpeted the fact that the bill is net-neutral.

“Obviously, the state will lose revenue on one side, but gain it on the other,” he told ROI-NJ. “The revenue neutrality is extraordinarily important, especially in these extraordinarily difficult times financially for the state and for everyone in it.”

Schaer feels the simplicity of the bill will give it an opportunity to be successful. Simply put, small businesses wouldn’t be bogged down by application processes.

“It’s a relatively easy maneuver that we believe can be extraordinarily effective,” he said. “The bill is designed to get to the people who need it most. They so often are so swamped by applications and bureaucracy that they turn away from these kinds of things. We think this bill is simple, it’s direct and it’ll be extraordinarily effective in reaching its goal, which is obviously getting more people employed in New Jersey.”

The #NJsmall campaign started in May.

Schaer said the idea came to him through a conversation with the S3 Agency in Boonton. Its founders, Denise Blasevick and Adam Schnitzler, started a grassroots campaign in May called #NJsmall.

Seeing the devastation the pandemic was causing to small businesses, the advertising agency owners collaborated with Schaer on what they feel will be a simple, yet effective solution: encourage New Jersey’s largest companies to hire New Jersey’s small businesses.

“I heard about the concept and said, ‘That idea is worth exploring,’” Schaer said. “The more thought that we gave to it, the more it made sense because of its simplicity, because of its lack of bureaucracy, because of its ease and its potential effectiveness in growing small businesses throughout the state.

“It just seems to be a win-win for everyone.”

Blasevick, the CEO of the S3 Agency, said the firm was thrilled to get the support.

“Small businesses create two-thirds of net new jobs — they are the backbone of our economy — and helping them survive will help our state recover faster,” she said. “We sincerely hope that every large business in New Jersey will embrace the #NJsmall opportunity to support their smaller siblings.”

Schaer said his colleagues in the Assembly have shown strong initial support for the bill. He is hopeful it will move forward.

“I can tell you the Democratic caucus is extraordinarily committed to doing whatever we can to expand all businesses to practically provide a way for them to benefit,” he said. “I don’t think I come out with a large number of bills. Hopefully, the bills that I do come out with make some good fiscal sense, because that is the bottom line.

“We think we might have done it with this bill, because we believe it will provide additional jobs and it will be revenue-neutral. That’s why we believe it’s a win-win for New Jersey.”

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