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May 27, 2021
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 Inside this issue
  Executive Directors Message  







By now you've probably heard Governor Murphy's announcement that New Jersey is joining almost every other state in the nation in bringing about an end to much of the state's masking mandate, which you have been required to enforce on your customers. However, there are some nuances to the change that are not being widely publicized that you should still be aware of. 

The new rules go into effect on Friday, May 28th at 6am. At that point, "individuals in indoor public spaces are not required to wear masks." Individuals in this circumstance refer to both customers and employees. While individuals who are not fully vaccinated "should" continue to wear a mask, it is their responsibility to do so, it is not the responsibility of the owner or any employee of a retail store.

Your business is legally prohibited from denying entry to someone wearing a mask, nor can you tell an employee to stop wearing a mask if they wish to. It is legal for a business to continue to require employees and/or customers to wear a mask if the business owner would like to. There are at least some grocery stores and some larger chains that plan to continue having their employees wear masks. 

The new Executive Order also enacts a full removal of capacity restrictions on customers. It had been 50% for most of the last year and was recently changed to whatever number is necessary to ensure six feet of distance between patrons. This rule has now been removed completely. 

This is NOT a full repeal of all COVID-19 restrictions for all businesses. "Indoor public spaces," where masking and social distancing is no longer required, does "not include indoor work sites of employers [...] that do not open their indoor spaces to the public for purposes of sale of goods, attendance at an event or activity, or provision of services." In those areas, there is no change to the current rules, which require employees to be masked if they are within six feet of each other, even if they have all been vaccinated. For our members, this mainly applies to repair shop floors where technicians may be working within six feet of each other on a regular basis. Also, any back offices you may have at a location would still require employees and owners to be masked if they are within six feet of each other. Other COVID-19 worker protections are also still in effect, such as allowing workers time for regular hand washing, routine disinfecting of high touch areas, and informing all employees if another worker is diagnosed with COVID-19. 

You can read the full Executive Order 242 HERE.

When this order goes into effect, Hawaii will be the last remaining state with a full mask mandate. Oregon has decided that the mask mandate is only lifted for those who can prove they are vaccinated, in effect turning retail employees into vaccine checkers. You can imagine what a disaster that policy would be if implemented here. In practice most businesses in Oregon are planning to just continue to require masking for all customers for the foreseeable future. While New Jersey is one of the last states to implement an end to mandatory masking, at least we are not following Oregon's lead on this.



I want to remind our members with college-aged children or employees that we released our scholarship application last week and money is available. We are able to bring the scholarship to your attention thanks to the generosity of the Utica Insurance Company that insures many of our members through the Amato Agency for business liability, as well as the NJGCA Board of Directors that approved a matching amount. Applicants can be a child of a member, an employee of a member, or a child of an employee of the member, and each member may submit one application per membership. You as the business owner and member get to choose the applicant to be submitted. However, to be clear, each membership is only permitted to submit ONE application. There is a total of $10,000 in scholarship money to be distributed. The $5,000 contribution from Utica must be used for a student who is attending an automotive technical trade school. The NJGCA contribution of $5,000 can be used for a student attending any college, university, or trade school other than automotive. If you have questions, email sal@njgca.org.

Applications should be printed and mailed back to NJGCA.  Applications must include the requested transcripts. Applications must be postmarked before the application deadline of July 13, 2021, and must be received at NJGCA Headquarters by July 19th, 2021. Click HERE to view the application. 



With more than eighty years of experience serving our members, it's about time our database gets an update! 

Our census project is underway and if you have not received a call yet, expect a call from someone on the NJGCA staff to update our data. We want to be especially sure we are capturing geographical information in order to contact every legislator that may represent you at both home and business. We also need to be sure we have correct email addresses in order to send you fast and timely information to keep you updated. We want to have every available means to contact members in the event of another emergency such as Superstorm Sandy. We have not updated this information in many years, and having this accurate info will be helpful to us when we communicate with you and legislators. Please be cooperative when you are called. 

In order to make this process as seamless as possible for you, we have also created an online version to complete this information yourself. You are permitted to fill out the information online or wait to be called by staff. 



The COVID pandemic has battered small business owners in multiple ways. One small measure of "relief" for those owners struggling to balance their books is the Employee Retention Credit. You'll recall that we discussed the ERC in the January 7th edition of the Road Warrior, and have also included articles on the tax credit in still other installments.

As a brief refresher, the ERC was originally passed in March 2020 as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). It was later extended on December 27, 2020 (as part of the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020) to June 30, 2021. The ERC was again extended through December 31, 2021 as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA).

ERC is among the most beneficial -- and under-utilized -- federal pandemic business programs.  With each extension, the accompanying ERC rules have revised multiple times and the program becomes both more favorable to small business owners, while also more complex as the initial rules have been revised. For example, the initial ERC rules would not permit those recipients of emergency funds from the Payment Protection Plan (PPP) to utilize both the tax credit and the wage protection funds. However, later revisions permitted applicants to take advantage of both programs. 

If you have not done so already, you should speak to your accountant and financial professional about the ERC and how you can take advantage of it. We always advise members to speak with an accounting professional to navigate your specific financial circumstances. However, for those small business owners without a retained financial professional, we endeavor to offer up additional details in the near future to help you navigate the landscape.

That said, a rough synopsis of the program is as follows:

Businesses are eligible for the credit if you meet one of the following two:

1 - Your business operations were partially or totally shut down due to the Coronavirus; OR

2 - Gross receipts are less than 80% when compared to the same quarter of 2019

For 2021, the ERC calculation amounts to a 70% credit of $10,000 eligible wages per employee per quarter. This equates to a maximum credit of $7,000 per employee per quarter ($28,000 annually per employee). This is applied to your federal tax liability, and a business owner must qualify for the credit each quarter. For 2020 (the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 provided a retroactive applicability of the ERC for 2020; speak to your tax professional about amending any 2020 submission), the max credit amounts to a 50% credit of $10,000 eligible wages per employee per quarter. This equates to a maximum credit of $5,000 per employee per quarter. PPP wages used for first draw forgiveness are not eligible wages for the calculation of the refund. 

Businesses that took a first- or second-round PPP draw can still apply, but wages paid directly from PPP are ineligible for the ERC calculation. Though it gets complicated (each business is run differently, and we highly recommend speaking to your tax professional on the details), this means any "payroll costs" that were reported on your PPP loan forgiveness application are not eligible for the ERC. However, a business that pays an employees' qualified wages (which were not provided by PPP or asked for in their loan forgiveness application) can use such qualified wages toward any ERC calculation. If you qualify for the ERC, we're happy to promote a very unique program for those small business owners who know they qualify to reap the benefits of the program in an easy, painless way. 

Heartland, NJGCA's Member Benefit Partner, has created a "Retention Credit Management" program that they are offering NJGCA Members at no charge. What does the program do? Everytime you run your payroll, Heartland will send your details to their tax department, who will automatically account for the 70% credit on qualified wages on eligible employees. Heartland will account for any qualifying deduction and document it so it can be submitted to the IRS each quarter. The credit funds are typically refunded back to the client within five business days. 

The ERC is currently under-utilized, if you qualify for the ERC, simply call Scott Seidman at Heartland to get started. You can reach Scott via cell at 908-334-4778 and email at scott.seidman@e-hps.com


Be Well -  

Sal Risalvato
Executive Director




  Training Class Schedule  

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


ASE-Prep Training (for NJ ASE-track ERT/ETEP Re-Certification)

NJGCA will offer an ASE-prep class for Emission Repair Technicians (ERTs) seeing to continue their existing accreditation. Students will meet twice a week for the entire five-week period (ten sessions), and review the required material for the A6, A8, and L1 exams. While we anticipate most students would appreciate preparing for all three tests together, we can also accommodate technicians who only need to prepare for a specific section.

All classes will meet in Wall Township, from approximately 9:00am to 3:00pm, on the following dates:

May Dates:

Class 1 - Tuesday, 5/4

Class 2 - Thursday, 5/6

Class 3 - Tuesday, 5/11

Class 4 - Thursday, 5/13

Class 5 - Wednesday, 5/19

Class 6 - Thursday, 5/20

Class 7 - Tuesday, 5/25

Class 8 - Thursday, 5/27

June Dates

Class 9 - Wednesday, 6/2

Class 10 - Thursday, 6/3



NJGCA Members: $1,995.00 (plus the price of books)

Non-Members: $2,195.00 (plus the price of books)

Email Training@njgca.org if you are interested in signing up

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



  News Around The State  


Don't Force Businesses to Verify Customers' Vaccine Status

NACS in a letter yesterday asked U.S. public health agencies to issue statements "emphasizing that state and local rules should not place the burden of verifying vaccination on employees." The letter to the heads of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention follows an Oregon Health Department rule that requires private businesses, employers and places of worship to verify the vaccination status of people who don't wear face masks in their facilities.


Business Groups Form Alliance To Oppose Biden's Tax Hikes

Nearly three dozen business groups representing a range of industries have created an alliance to fight President Biden's plans to raise taxes, arguing the proposed levies will kill job creation and hinder the U.S. economic recovery from the pandemic. The coalition of 28 industry groups - called "America's Job Creators for a Strong Recovery" - was spearheaded by the National Association of Wholesale Distributors. The alliance comes as Biden pushes forward with his $4 trillion "Build Back Better" agenda, which is comprised of the $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan and the $1.8 trillion American Families Plan. The measures would be paid for by a slew of new tax hikes on wealthy Americans and corporations, including raising the corporate tax rate to 28% from 21%, imposing a global minimum of 15% on companies' overseas profits, hiking the individual income tax rate to 39.6% and nearly doubling the capital gains tax rate. 


N.J. To Drop 6-foot Distancing Rule For Restaurants, Businesses, Other Venues. Indoor Gathering Limits To Be Lifted

New Jersey will no longer require restaurants, retail stores, gyms, churches, and other businesses to keep 6 feet of social distance between patrons or groups beginning Friday - the same day the state will stop mandating that people wear masks at most indoor public places, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday as he outlined plans to lift most of the state's remaining coronavirus restrictions. Under Murphy's new executive order, dance floors at bars and restaurants in the state can also reopen Friday, while patrons will no longer be required to stay in seats while ordering and eating or drinking. New Jersey will then end all indoor gathering limits on June 4. The state currently limits 50 people for private gatherings and 250 people for political activities, wedding ceremonies and receptions, funerals, memorial services, performances, catered events, and commercial gatherings. . . All this effectively means most New Jersey businesses will soon be stripped of remaining capacity limits that were put in effect more than a year ago to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.


U.S. Chip Funding Could Result In Seven To 10 New Factories - Officials

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said on Monday a proposed $52 billion boost in U.S. government funding for semiconductor production and research could result in seven to 10 new U.S. factories. Raimondo said at an event outside a Micron Technology Inc (MU.O) chip factory that she anticipated the government funding would generate "$150 billion-plus" in investment in chip production and research - including contributions from state and federal governments and private-sector firms. "We just need the federal money ... to unlock private capital," Raimondo said, adding, "it could be seven, could be eight, could be nine, could be 10 new factories in America by the time we're done." She said she expected states will compete for federal funding for chip facilities and that the Commerce department would have a transparent process for awarding funding.



  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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