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September 17, 2020
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 Inside this issue
  Executive Directors Message  

The last few months we have been highlighting the dangers of the governor signing workers comp legislation that would make you automatically responsible if one of your employees gets COVID. We held out some hope as the business communities' compromise was beyond reasonable and made a lot of sense, but the governor chose to cater to the labor unions. We submitted a press release highlighting this, which was later picked up by NJTV. Skip to minute 13:58 for the start of the piece where I was interviewed.
Today, Governor Murphy held a press conference to announce a budget deal alongside Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin and Senate President Steve Sweeney. The good news: we may have been successful in blocking the cigarette tax from passing. As far as we can tell the cigarette tax is not going to be increased but I'm not ready to make that claim until the governor officially signs this. I know this tax in particular was very contentious, and the governor wanted it badly. The millionaires tax has been contentious for a number of years as well. It may have taken three years and a pandemic for the governor to get what he wants, but it looks like he will finally get it.
For those of you who have not submitted your survey responses yet, we kindly ask that you take a minute to do so. This survey will provide us with valuable information on the status of our industry members in New Jersey and should only take about a minute of your time. It is important for me to every so often take the temperature of NJGCA members on certain issues. Our reminder emails only are sent to those of you who have not yet completed the survey. If you get one in your inbox, make sure you complete it!
Be Well -  
Sal Risalvato
Executive Director




  Training Class Schedule  

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




  News Around The State  

Essential Workers Who Have Coronavirus Get Help With Benefits
It's a major shift in New Jersey's workers' compensation law. During the health emergency, essential workers no longer have to prove they contracted the coronavirus on the job to qualify for workers' compensation benefits. Gov. Phil Murphy signed it into law Monday, retroactive to March 9. . . "It's unfair, and mostly it's unreasonable, to pass a law with a presumption, an automatic presumption, that an employee contracted the COVID-19 virus while at work," said Sal Risalvato, executive director of the New Jersey Gasoline, Convenience, Automotive Association. . . Employers argue that gathering proves their essential workers could easily get infected outside of work, but claim they got sick on the job. The new law allows employers to refute the presumption. "Investigations are going to be done, but exactly how accurate will they be and how will we ever truly know?" Risalvato said.

New Tax Hike For Businesses? NJ Unemployment Fund May Need Help
Employers across the state could be facing a tax hike next year to make sure the fund that pays out unemployment benefits in New Jersey remains solvent. A final review of the numbers is still months away, but Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo told lawmakers Tuesday an increase in the assessment the state requires employers contribute toward unemployment benefits is likely looming without federal intervention. "We are hopeful that there's going to be (federal) relief for trust funds," Asaro-Angelo said during a Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee hearing in Trenton. "We hope there's direct funding to support our trust funds because that will ease the burden on employers in New Jersey, and across the country," he said. Without federal help, an increase in the employer assessment would be required in July when many New Jersey businesses could still be facing challenges due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Murphy Signs Bill Extending Workers Comp To Essential Workers Who Got Coronavirus
The new law, retroactive to March 9, removes a requirement that essential workers who came down with the coronavirus to prove they did so on the job. As of Monday, N.J. reported 196,968 coronavirus cases. Typically, in order to receive workers' compensation in New Jersey, an employee must prove they suffered a job-related illness or injury. This new law creates a presumption during the ongoing public health crisis that essential employees' illnesses are related to their work. That presumption can only be refuted by a preponderance of the evidence showing the essential worker was not exposed at their workplace, according to the bill. . .Business groups decried the legislation, saying it would further burden businesses that already are struggling to weather the pandemic and economic crises.

Coronavirus Relief Proposal Halted
Yesterday, Senate Democrats, along with one Republican, voted to block the GOP coronavirus relief measure, thus ending hopes for a second stimulus package, the Washington Post reports. The move will likely mean no new economic stimulus bill will be passed before the November elections, despite rumors that the House may attempt to move yet another version in the coming weeks. The 52-47 vote included Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) voting no; the measure needed 60 yes votes to clear procedural hurdles. The failure comes as Federal Reserve officials have requested more financial assistance to keep the economy afloat. Many benefits under the Cares Act have fizzled out, and extra unemployment benefits expired at the end of July, with many states not participating in the expanded unemployment benefits made available by President Trump's executive order.

Oil Prices Tumble More Than 7%
Oil prices dropped more than 7% to a multi-month low as analysts worry about the future demand of crude, CNBC reports. West Texas Intermediate crude plummeted 7.6% to $36.76 a barrel this week-a low point not seen since June. Brent crude declined more than 5.3% to reach $39.78 a barrel, also its lowest level since June. . .Since April, when crude prices fell into the negative, oil prices have rebounded. In July, some analysts predicted prices would soar to $150 a barrel by 2025. Last month, Bank of America predicted oil prices would recover to $60 a barrel by early 2021. But recently, oil prices have registered losses. Tuesday's dip came after Saudi Aramco slashed its official selling prices for October, which set off fresh concerns about demand. Bank of America's recent client notes said it would be three years before oil demand recovered completely from the effects of COVID-19.



  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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