Legislation Introduced To Compensate Businesses For Forced COVID Closures

Senator Jim Holzapfel and Assemblymen Greg McGuckin and John Catalano have introduced legislation that would allow for businesses that have incurred losses due to closures ordered by Governor Phil Murphy to seek compensation from the State.

“Small businesses that employ the majority of New Jerseyans have taken an unbearable hit as a result of the severe restrictions and closures ordered by Governor Murphy since March,” said Holzapfel. “We think they deserve to be compensated for the losses they have incurred while complying with the governor’s arbitrary and ineffective executive orders.”

The new legislation (S-3060/A-4849) by the 10th District legislators provides that the closure of a business due to an order declaring a public health emergency is a public purpose for which the State may have to pay the business owner just compensation.

“New Jerseyans have been subjected to extreme restrictions and lockdown orders from Governor Murphy without any proof that it has done any good from a public health perspective,” said McGuckin. “Meanwhile, the economic harm of his orders has been substantial, with nearly 2 million New Jerseyans filing for unemployment. Our legislation would help more of our small businesses and the millions of employees and families they support to survive this crisis.”

Under the terms of the legislation, the owner of a business may bring an action to compel the State to exercise condemnation and to pay just compensation for either:

  • loss of income during, and for a reasonable time after, a temporary partial or complete closure of the business, if the business would not have closed but for compliance with the order; or
  • loss of going concern, including the loss of real property, if the closure of the business results in the owner going out of business and the owner proves the owner would not have gone out of business but for compliance with the order.

Over the weekend, Republican leadership in the New Jersey Legislature called for a special legislative session to be held immediately to approve emergency assistance for small businesses and nonprofits that are struggling as a result of COVID-19.

Meanwhile, Democratic leaders in the Senate and General Assembly are focusing their efforts on how much to tax marijuana and fighting over how to divvy up the proceeds among a handful of urban centers they represent.

“While Trenton Democrats are fighting over marijuana money, Republicans in the Legislature are fighting for middle-class families that don’t know how they’ll survive a new set of lockdown orders,” added Catalano. “The contrast in priorities couldn’t be clearer. We believe the Legislature should hold a special session to pass small business relief, including our new legislation, immediately.”

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  1. Although this will help many small businesses, the money will be coming from the tax payers, not from Gov. Murphy who is responsible for this issue

  2. Compensation would be nice however, who ends up paying for this? The answer is it always ends up being the taxpayer!

    For those of you who think the “government” will pay for it. No they won’t! They might give the money to the people but who’s paying the government, it’s WE THE PEOPLE! And the problem is WE THE PEOPLE are running out of WE THE PEOPLE’S MONEY!

    people need to realize just because something is free, does not mean it’s really free. Someone is paying for it. Eventually that’s someone becomes you! Even if you live in whatever tax bracket you’re in, you do pay for it one way or the other. It’s very important that people realize this the sooner the better.

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