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August 19, 2021
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 Inside this issue
  Executive Directors Message  








Last Friday, the Department of Labor and Workforce Development posted a notice to employers notifying them that their contribution rates to the unemployment insurance fund would be going up to replenish the millions depleted due to pandemic unemployment claims. The business community is looking at approximately $252 million more in additional unemployment insurance in Fiscal Year 2022. NJGCA and the business community as well as several legislators from both parties have raised concern and criticism over the fact that they will be hit with the entirety of the bill rather than having the state use some of its federal funding received during the pandemic to help in the effort. They had urged the governor to put some of New Jersey's $6.2 billion in federal American Rescue Plan aid into the trust fund and avert any tax hike. New Jersey companies will begin making an increased payment Oct. 30, when the payroll tax for the third quarter (July-September) is due. You can read more articles on this in the news section below. 


Additionally, the state is also facing a possible increase to the gas tax. According to the law that was passed in 2016, the State Treasurer and the Office of Legislative Services must do an analysis by August 15th to determine if the tax needs to be increased or decreased based on the revenue that was taken in during the previous fiscal year. Not since the law went into effect has the treasurer actually announced a decision on time, and it seems as if any announcement always comes just immediately before the Labor Day weekend. You may have read articles that are alarmist and indicate that there will be some kind of increase based on the revenue shortfall, however, my prediction is that there won't be a significant enough revenue shortfall that will result in a gas tax increase, especially weeks before an election. You may remember that Eric and I both felt that last year's increase was more than was needed, and that was done in order to make sure that this year there would not be an increase just 5 weeks before they are all up for reelection. 



We notified you last week about the Senate passing the infrastructure bill, which includes funds to increase electric vehicle chargers throughout the country. Now, the current debate many gas station owners are facing is whether to make the investment now to install the chargers knowing that many of their customers currently are not driving electric vehicles, or wait to see where customers will end up charging more (at home, office park chargers, etc.) and make a decision from there. We know many of you are currently making these considerations and weighing your options and rightfully so. If someone were to put together a book of my most repeated quotes, one of them would certainly be "for any one of your customers that buys a battery electric vehicle, that is a customer you will never see again if you are not selling electric charging." You will lose them at your gas pumps, repair shops, and if they are not buying gas, then they are also not buying coffee in your convenience stores. 



I'm sure you are following the news closely on what's going on with COVID cases in the most recent weeks and masking in public. Because the data is constantly changing and recommendations vary across the board, it has made protecting yourself and your employees a complicated situation. Recently, OSHA released updated guidance on preventing spreading COVID in the workplace that aligns with previous CDC recommendations. Fully vaccinated workers in areas with high community spread of COVID-19 should wear face masks to protect unvaccinated workers, who also must wear face coverings, in higher-risk workplaces where there is prolonged close contact with other employees and/or the public. I want to remind you that while this is not a requirement and simply a recommendation, the latest data shows that COVID transmission rates are up in almost every county in the state. While I would not suggest requiring showing proof of vaccination at the door or banning any customers from your business, requiring mask wearing when dealing with customers, or in workspaces with several people, seems like a small price to pay rather than having to shut down your business due to all of your employees contracting the virus. 



MasterCard recently announced that it will abandon magnetic stripes on credit and debit cards beginning in 2024, a move that will directly impact convenience and fuel retailers who haven't yet upgraded their fuel pumps to accept chip card payments as part of the now-overdue EMV liability shift. What this means is really very simple, if your gas pumps have not been upgraded to be EMV compliant and are not able to accept chip cards, you will be unable to process cards by the magnetic strip if the card is issued after 2024 from MasterCard. You can expect Visa and others to follow. We know there are some of you who don't plan to upgrade to EMV ever because you have decided the cost of chargebacks is better than shelling out the money for EMV upgrades equipment. This will not be sustainable as once thieves know that your location is not EMV compliant they will target you and the losses will be unsustainable.


We continue to hear from members who have not upgraded their pumps and are currently receiving chargebacks. We have brought this issue to your attention many times within the past few months. The procedure for receiving the chargebacks is very simple. Money is deducted from your account notifying you of a fraudulent use of a card without giving you any information as to who the customer is or how you can track down the money yourself. They simply say there was fraud and take the money out of your account. Yes, we have consulted with experts and attorneys about this and no, there isn't anything that you can do other than file a claim in small claims court against your credit card processor and hope that becoming a nuisance to them makes them reverse the chargeback. The bottom line is, the only way to prevent these unnecessary chargebacks is to upgrade all pumps to be EMV compliant. There is no other solution. There is no reason why this shouldn't have been done, we have been notifying members since 2014 that this upgrade is required. The original deadline was October 2017, which was then extended to October 2020, and then because of COVID the deadline was extended once again to April of this year. The credit card companies and banks have refused to extend the deadline anymore and have now based the burden of fraud solely on you. We even have an MBP to help you with this transition, contact Sound Payments today and mention you are an NJGCA member.



We are hoping to gather NJGCA shop owners by inviting our auto repair members to SEMA/APPEX in November. This conference is vital in order to build on the professionalism that is required to run a shop today. It is beneficial for colleagues to be together, learn together, and have fun together. We are building all of those things into what is known as industry week in Las Vegas or the SEMA/APPEX shows. I'm sure many of you not only have heard of these two shows but may have already attended in previous years. We want NJGCA members to attend together and even bring your spouse! We recently included details on a group trip we are organizing to Red Rock Canyon, 7 Magic Mountains, Boulder City & Hoover Dam a day before the conference officially kicks off in order to build collegiality amongst our members. If you are interested in more information on the conference and any other events we are organizing that week, please contact Joe Ocello at joe@njgca.org. See the announcement we emailed to members yesterday and register HERE.


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 potential trainings and class dates



  News Around The State  



CDC to Recommend COVID-19 Booster for All

This week, health experts are expected to recommend COVID-19 booster shots for all Americans, regardless of age, eight months after receiving their second dose of the original vaccine, reports APNews. The agency believes the booster will ensure continued protection against the virus as the delta variant spreads nationwide.



Op-ed: New Rules For NJ's Cannabis Industry Must Do Better On Workplace Safety

The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission rolls out it rules and regulations to govern the cannabis industry in New Jersey in the coming days. For the sake of employees and employers alike, it's critical that the commission ensure those regulations do more to protect an employer's right to maintain safe drug-free workplaces. While New Jersey adults gained the right to use recreational marijuana last year by voter referendum, it was up to the Legislature to determine the parameters of those rights. Unfortunately, when it came to ensuring public safety in the workplace, lawmakers came up well short.


Calls Grow For N.J. To Use Federal Aid To Replenish Unemployment Fund

A growing, bipartisan chorus of lawmakers and business groups are calling on New Jersey to use federal stimulus dollars to replenish the state's unemployment trust fund. The pleas for help came as the state wrestles with how to restore the fund, which lost millions as jobless claims skyrocketed during the pandemic. The fund needs a boost of just under $1 billion, one that will be phased in over three years thanks to a law signed by Gov. Phil Murphy in January.


Businesses Pray For Hiring Boom After Fed Unemployment Benefits Expire

After a rocky 18 months of the pandemic ravaging the economy, the labor shortage is ubiquitous to business owners across the country, who are hopeful the waning off of coronavirus-related benefits will lure people back to work. Some end on Sept. 6. But a lot has changed since the first coronavirus shutdown in March 2020, and economists and business leaders agree it's going to take a complete rethinking of the labor market to reveal the clear path to recovery.



N.J. Businesses To Get Socked With $250M Unemployment Insurance Tax Hike

More than 2 million New Jersey workers have sought unemployment benefits since March 2020, when the governor effectively shut down the state to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The unemployment trust fund in that time has paid out $7.9 billion to people out of work, depleting the fund and forcing the state to borrow from the federal government.



  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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