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January 7, 2021
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 Inside this issue
  Executive Directors Message  

Happy New Year! I hope everyone was able to enjoy the holidays safely and that the year is off to a bright and successful start for all of you. Let's lead off the first newsletter of the year with some hopeful news. . .
As the vaccine is distributed throughout the country and state, people are anxiously awaiting news of when they will be eligible to receive their first dose. In New Jersey, there is much confusion around when certain groups will be eligible to be vaccinated. NJGCA sent a letter to Governor Murphy earlier this week highlighting the fact that our industries have been on the frontlines serving our communities since the beginning of the pandemic. Our employees are expected to report to work every day and are required to interact with customers on a daily basis. As such, they should be prioritized to receive a vaccine. You can read that letter HERE.
On Tuesday, the State of New Jersey opened up a COVID-19 Vaccine Registration page to attempt to sort and prioritize when individuals will be eligible. Almost as soon as news popped up that registration was open, the website was inundated with attempts to register. Since the initial surge has passed, the website does appear to be in working order again. I strongly encourage those of you who have not pre-registered to do so HERE. If it could help in any way make sure you receive the vaccine in a timely manner, then the few minutes it takes to fill out the survey is absolutely worth the time.
We have documented our efforts in previous Road Warriors to have the Governor sign
A-4853/S-3011 into law to reduce the payroll tax. Because of the pandemic, the unemployment insurance fund has been in a very bad financial position. To make up the amount of losses caused due to the pandemic would require enormous increases in the unemployment insurance taxes you pay as employers. The legislation passed by the legislature and governor is not going to eliminate the need for increased payroll taxes, but will spread the increases out over three years through fiscal year 2023 to make them more manageable.
On December 27th, President Trump signed into law the latest coronavirus response bill (H.R. 133). It totals $900 billion. $284 billion has been allocated to the Payroll Protection Program (PPP). A business can take out a second forgivable PPP loan as long as they suffered at least a 25% drop in gross receipts in a 2020 quarter compared with the same quarter in 2019. They must also have fewer than 300 employees. The SBA is required to develop an even simpler forgiveness application for loans below $150,000. The bill also overrules the IRS and will allow businesses to deduct expenses that have been covered by a PPP loan.

The law stated that SBA was supposed to make applications for a second draw of PPP available by January 6th, but it seems they are delayed again. As with the first PPP availability, these loans will be provided entirely through private SBA approved lenders, so you may want to proactively reach out to your preferred lender so you will be ready to go as soon as possible. If you took out your first PPP loan before June 5th, then it was supposed to be spent within an 8-week period. Since then the program was expanded to allow businesses to spend the money within a 24-week period starting with the date of disbursement.

Businesses that took a PPP loan will now also be able to make use of the Employee Retention Tax Credit through July 1st. This is a fully refundable tax credit for employers equal to 70% of wages up to $10,000 per quarter per employee (increased by this bill from 50% of wages up to $5,000). An eligible business must have suffered at least a 50% decline in gross receipts in any quarter of 2020 compared with the same quarter in 2019 and will continue to be considered affected until their gross receipts in one quarter are greater than 80% of what they were in the same quarter of 2019. Talk to your accountant to see how much you can benefit from this tax credit, which until now was not available to businesses who took a PPP loan.

Employers are no longer mandated to provide the federal paid and family leave required by the Families First Act, but those that do will continue to be repaid by the federal government through March 2021. The EIDL loan program (Economic Injury Disaster Loans) has also been given an additional $20 billion in funding.

Throughout this pandemic we have discussed the importance of mask wearing and making sure you are keeping both customers and employees safe during these scary and uncertain times. We also warned you that the Department of Labor would be watching, and that they have made it easy for people to make complaints about businesses not doing the right thing. This most recent news about almost 1,200 complaints being filed to the Department of Labor regarding COVID workplace violations as a warning. You do not want your customers complaining about your gas attendants or technicians working on their cars not properly masked. Besides the fact it is completely irresponsible and unprofessional, it could also cost you money and in the long run, it could even cost you your business. If you have not done so yet, please review and even print and display this best practices guidance document that we created. Following the information and guidance will prove to your employees that you are taking their health seriously, and will also show customers that you value their business and want them to continue to return.
On January 4th the Governor signed into law A-4182, which requires that for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis, commercial and residential landlords (unless the building has only one or two units) must allow their tenant the option to pay their rent using a credit card. The landlord is allowed to pass on to the tenant all transaction fees associated with the use of a credit card. This change took effect immediately.
One of our newest MBP's Sound Payments will be hosting a webinar on Jan. 21 at 2 p.m. ET discussing the April 2021 EMV mandate and their semi-integrated EMV payments system. This will be similar to the webinar we hosted with Sound Payments in November. If you were not able to join that webinar, I strongly encourage you to register for this one. You can click HERE to register, or visit soundpayments.com.
Be Well -  
Sal Risalvato
Executive Director




  Training Class Schedule  

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

Contact Nick De Palma at Nick@njgca.org to inquire about additional class dates



  News Around The State  

C-Stores Fight Human Trafficking
With 152,000 convenience stores located in every community across the United States, convenience stores are helping to lead positive change with respect to the fight against human trafficking on January 11, National Human Trafficking Day. NACS is working with two groups to raise awareness of the issue on January 11 and throughout the month, which is Human Trafficking Prevention Month, and encourages convenience retailers to also participate.

Woman Wrecks Tesla After Falling Asleep At Wheel, Cops Say
A 34-year-old woman fell asleep behind the wheel of a Tesla and crashed into a utility pole in South Brunswick on Monday, police said. . .The officer who responded was not sure if the Tesla was in auto-pilot mode when the crash took place about a half-mile from Route 130, officials said.

Governor Murphy Signs Legislation to Reduce UI Payroll Tax
To continue supporting our small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Phil Murphy today signed A-4853/S-3011 to reduce businesses' UI contribution rate for a period of time. . . This legislation will reduce the amount of an employer's unemployment taxes through Fiscal Year 2023. Additionally, the bill will permit nonprofit and governmental employers that elect to make UI payments equal to the full amount of benefits paid to individuals attributable to service in the employ of the nonprofit or governmental employer to reduce their UI benefit payments by fifty percent for the duration of the public health emergency. The bill will result in cost savings to State entities, public institutions of higher education, local governments, and school districts during the pandemic. The short-term savings will be made possible by federal unemployment insurance advances. The recently enacted federal stimulus package extended interest free borrowing of these loans through March 14, 2021. As of December 17, 2020, 20 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands have availed themselves of these loans.

Almost 1,200 Complaints Filed In NJ About COVID Workplace Violations
The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development said last week it has received 1,181 complaints from workers and customers about COVID-19 safety violations by public and private employers. Of those, 237 have been investigated and resolved, with 159 employers found to be complying with rules, based on documentation of safety practices. Documentation included providing photos, purchase orders or receipts for safety equipment, according to the department. The other 78 cases have been referred "to the appropriate state agencies," the department said in a news release.



  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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