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July 23, 2020
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 Inside this issue
  Executive Directors Message  
Today, the Senate Commerce Committee and Assembly Financial Institutions & Insurance Committee will be voting on a new bill that would put a 2.75% tax on health insurance premiums. At a time when small businesses are struggling just to stay open in the midst of this unprecedented crisis, the last thing the state government should be doing is increasing how much employers have to spend on health insurance. Because this is being voted on today, we are not able to report an outcome. We may ask you to contact legislators in the near future if we have not done so already. Those of you who live in the legislators district who sit on the above committees were already contacted ahead of the hearings today. Stay tuned for more information on this, though in the meantime you can read the testimony we will be presenting at the Assembly committee HERE. Identical testimony is being presented to the Senate committee as well.
We have discussed liability issues as a result of the COVID crisis previously with you and recently received an update. There's federal legislation proposed in Washington DC that would protect small businesses from being sued by their customers or employees who make a claim that they contracted COVID at their place of business. There's similar legislation that has been introduced in Trenton S-2634 and S-2628/A-4377, though they have not been scheduled for any committee hearings. It will be very important to us if any of you have experienced a complaint from a customer or an employee that is claiming they contracted COVID from your business. We want to provide examples to legislators to move this legislation forward. Please email Michelle at michelle@njgca.org if you have had this experience.
For the past two weeks we have described the horrors that customers are experiencing in every department of MVC and have made special note because many of you have contacted us regarding the difficulty you are having procuring more inspection stickers. We received some feedback from members, and some have gotten lucky. We actually found one state worker dedicated to their job and as a result of our efforts and constant badgering by a particular member, this employee personally drove stickers to that member's location and we are thankful and grateful. Unfortunately, this dedicated state worker is the exception and not the rule. We received the following email from another member offering the following advice:
Just to respond to the inspection sticker statement to request reorders well ahead of time, I still have not received an order from the beginning of May that was mailed in.  I drove to Westfield and picked up another order. Just remember to bring your signed laminated signature card, a business check, a request form for stickers signed and your driver's license. You will be able to walk out with your inspection sticker order.
You can try the following numbers: (908)-232-6295/6296/6297, though good luck with the phones. The two working will just let the phones ring if they are busy. Hope this helps anyone stressing while waiting for inspection stickers to arrive in the mail. 
The FDA recently issued Not Substantially Equivalent orders for 13 tobacco products that had until recently been permitted to be sold on the market. These tobacco products can no longer be distributed, imported, sold, marketed or promoted in the United States. You can find a list of the products to remove from your shelves HERE. If you find that you still have remaining inventory, you can contact the product manufacturer or distributor to try to work out options for disposing of the products. Retailers that are caught selling these products could face monetary penalties. Make sure you are always using a reputable distributor, you can check out our list of MBP's for our recommendations.
Legislators are back in DC to discuss a new coronavirus stimulus bill. Among the items they will be discussing to be included are a simplified PPP program, a second edition PPP program for businesses that are still economically impacted, and national liability reform. The biggest debate is over to extend unemployment payments. The enhanced payments that recipients have been receiving are set to expire at the end of the month.
It has recently come to our attention that some efforts are being made to roll back New Jersey's laws on fireworks, looking to almost prohibit them entirely. I know some of you sell these products in your convenience stores, you should be aware that this is happening. If you do sell these products and this law would affect you, please email eric@njgca.org. 
Be Well -  
Sal Risalvato
Executive Director




  Training Class Schedule  

All classes held at NJGCA HQ -- 4900 Route 33 West, Wall Township, NJ 07753

Two-Day Emissions Inspector Training Class
September 16th & 17th, 2020

After a long delay due to the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis, NJGCA is pleased to announce that our training classes will resume! If you, a colleague, or an employee technician wishes to become a NJ Emissions Inspector, we can help and now is your chance! NJGCA will offer a two-day class with all the information and training you need to become a NJ Emissions Inspector.
On day one you will receive in-class instruction from NJGCA's instructor. We will break for lunch (provided), and the State will administer the written test in the afternoon. On day two will go over the hands-on test at an emission inspection location to fully prepare you for the hands-on test.
In light of the current crisis, and to protect both students and staffers, all participants must wear facemasks at all times while on the premises and respect social-distancing guidelines.

September class registration click here



  News Around The State  

Speedway Sale Tipping Point?
A new report suggests this week could be a tipping point for the possible sale of the Speedway LLC chain of approximately 3,900 convenience stores. Several international companies are preparing to submit bids this week for the coveted U.S. prize of the third largest c-store chain in the United States. Canadian convenience store operator Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., Japanese c-store operator Seven & i Holdings Co. Ltd. and U.K.-based private equity firm TDR Capital are among those preparing to submit rival bids for Marathon Petroleum Corp.'s Speedway LLC retail network, Reuters reported on July 22, citing people familiar with the matter. Murphy USA Inc., El Dorado, Ark., is also considering participating in the auction for Speedway, two of the sources said.

New Jersey Has Spent Only a Fraction of $2.4B Federal COVID-19 Aid, Legislative Sources Say
While Gov. Phil Murphy complained Wednesday about the latest federal stimulus proposal from Senate Republicans and its lack of funding for states, New Jersey has spent less than 3% of the almost $2.4 billion it has received from the federal government to cover general needs created by the COVID-19 pandemic. As of Wednesday, the state had spent $229 million from the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF), the federal assistance giving states and local governments the most flexibility to use the money to offset impacts from the novel coronavirus, and allocated another $51 million for spending, according to legislative sources. That leaves almost 97.7% untouched about four months after the state learned how much it would receive.

Treasury Assessing Lottery Revenues to Get Clearer Picture of Pension Funding Shortfall
New Jersey Lottery sales have been mired in a lengthy slump during the coronavirus pandemic, adding to the budget headaches for Gov. Phil Murphy and lawmakers because those revenues help fund public-worker pension benefits. Initial estimates of the last full year of Lottery receipts fell well short of the total for the same 12-month period last year. The shortfall comes despite a modest rally in sales of Lottery tickets and games taking place over the last few months, according to the state Department of Treasury's latest report on tax collections.

Lawmaker Wants To Roll Back Fireworks Legalization
Three years after New Jersey loosened restrictions on fireworks, a state lawmaker wants to go back to the old days and ban virtually all fireworks in the state. "We opened a Pandora's box. We gave a little bit and they took it somewhere else," said Assemblymember Benjie Wimberly (D-Paterson), who has introduced a bill, NJ A4448, that would ban "nonexploding, non-aerial fireworks" like sparklers that were allowed beginning in 2017, when Gov. Chris Christie signed a law to slightly loosen New Jersey's ultra-strict fireworks laws.

Wawa to Open Its First Drive-Thru
The Wawa convenience chain is preparing to open its first drive-thru in a store being planned for Westampton, New Jersey, northeast of Philadelphia, according to the Philadelphia Business Journal. When completed later this year, the store's drive-thru will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. and feature a limited menu of items, including coffee, Sizzlis, built-to-order hoagies, soups, sides and smoothies. The drive-thru service is part of Wawa's efforts to provide alternative ways to access merchandise amid the coronavirus pandemic. If it proves a hit with customers, there could be more like it in the chain's future.

Bill Advances to Help Lower-Income Communities in NJ Block Projects that Could Increase Pollution
Despite pushback from the business community, an Assembly committee cleared a bill Monday that would give minority and low-income communities more leverage in blocking new projects that could increase pollution burdens in areas already suffering from adverse environmental impacts. The legislation (S-232), part of a two-bill package aimed at addressing environmental-justice issues impacting communities across New Jersey, is viewed by advocates as the most significant step ever taken to address unhealthy levels of pollution affecting many poor and urban communities in the state. The bill, approved by the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee, would require state environmental officials to consider the cumulative impacts of locating new power plants or major new manufacturing facilities where residents already suffer from pollution from incinerators, hazardous waste sites, or waste transfer stations.

Fraud Concerns Loom Over Move To Forgive Small Business Loans
The banking industry is pressing Congress to convert millions of emergency small business loans into grants with minimal paperwork - an idea that some lawmakers and watchdog groups warn could expose the government to massive fraud. The banks are pushing the issue because businesses that took the so-called Paycheck Protection Program loans are beginning to file applications to have the loans forgiven, a time-consuming and confusing process for both lenders and borrowers. The $670 billion program stipulates that the loans can be forgiven if employers kept workers on payroll, a key incentive for businesses to participate.

New Jersey Employers and Physicians Unite Against Proposed Tax on Health Insurance
On Monday, July 20, leading New Jersey employer and physician organizations released a letter opposing a proposed new tax on health insurance moving through the New Jersey legislature, S2676 and A4389. The New Jersey legislation aims to raise $300 million by levying a 2.75% tax on health insurance coverage purchased by New Jersey employers, working-class families, and seniors on certain Medicare plans. Early estimates suggest the tax will increase health insurance premiums by at least $600 every year for New Jersey residents covered by the typical family health insurance plan.

COVID-19's Impact on Restroom Design
Retailers and businesses, plus educational institutions and governments, are taking a closer look at public restrooms in light of the coronavirus pandemic, Chain Store Age reports. "While cleanliness has always been a goal in designing restrooms, coronavirus has underscored the need for hygienic, sterile and safe environments," said Jon Dommisse, Bradley's director of strategy and corporate development. . .Here are six design strategies that will help keep germ transmission at a minimum in public restrooms.

FDA Orders Retailers to Stop Selling 13 Tobacco Products
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued Not Substantially Equivalent (NSE) orders for 13 tobacco products that had been provisionally permitted to be sold on the market since 2011. These tobacco products are now misbranded and adulterated and can no longer be distributed, imported, sold, marketed or promoted in the United States, the agency said.

The American Economy Is About to Drive Off a Cliff. Will Congress Build a Bridge?
The unemployment rate in the United States-11.1 percent as of last month-is higher than it's been at any point since the Great Depression (other than April and May). More than 1 million Americans have filed initial unemployment claims for 16 straight weeks; the record pre-pandemic was 695,000 in 1982. The International Monetary Fund projects the U.S. economy will contract by 8 percent in 2020, which would be the lowest annual figure dating back to World War II. And yet, things could have been so much worse.



  Energy Information Agency Weekly Retail Gasoline Prices  
Each week, the Energy Information Administration publishes a list of average gasoline prices for the previous three weeks. NJGCA will begin including this list with the Weekly Road Warrior. Remember, these prices are reflective of self-serve everywhere except NJ.


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  Classifieds: For Sale and Help Wanted Ads  

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