Pennacchio Plan Would Rescue Businesses Struggling to Survive Rental Payments During the Crisis

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Senator Joseph Pennacchio. File Photo

MORRIS COUNTY — Amid growing concerns for the long-term impact of the coronavirus on the economy, Senator Joe Pennacchio today announced plans for legislation to help employers cope with the loss of revenue and stay in business.

“This crisis has stripped companies of the ability to operate their business or adapt to changing market conditions,” said Senator Pennacchio (R-26). “Hard-working men and women who are used to doing everything possible to protect their business and their employees’ jobs find themselves powerless in a marketplace shut down caused by the virus. Without warning or any time to prepare, businesses have been closed down for more than a month and most have no way to make money under current restrictions.”

Senator Pennacchio will introduce legislation that would allow landlords to waive all or part of three months’ rent to businesses, up to $15,000. In return, the landlord would be eligible for a state tax credit for one-third of the forgiven rent. The program would be voluntary.

“Tax credits will help landlords who may otherwise be faced with foreclosure,” Senator Pennacchio said. “I think there’s a lot of landlords who want to do the right thing. My legislation will help reduce the number of businesses defaulting on leases and prevent a glut of vacancies created in the aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak.”

The program can be initiated without the need to create any new bureaucratic layers, and it may be eligible for a portion of the almost $2 billion in federal coronavirus stimulus aid, the Senator noted.

“This would be a life preserver for businesses that are going under,” noted Senator Pennacchio. “We will reap triple benefits. If the state commits $100 million, the business will get $300 million in relief that will save tax-paying companies and the jobs of citizens who already struggle to pay New Jersey outrageous tax rates.”

Pennacchio is also introducing a resolution urging the federal government to adopt similar tax credits, increasing the net benefit of the state’s rental assistance.

“New Jersey sends more of our tax money to Washington than almost any other state,” Senator Pennacchio added. “Federal tax credits would help our state recover sooner from the devastation of the ongoing lockdown. We need help from the feds.”

Earlier this month, the Senate unanimously approved a bill to create the “2020 New Jersey Emergency Rental Assistance Program” and appropriate $100 million aid for residential renters.