Volume 13 Issue 7 - Friday, April 22, 2022

Murphy calls for reform of liquor license laws to encourage economic growth, NJ tax revenues remain high, New state fund to invest in NJ startups & more 

Murphy calls for reform of liquor license laws to encourage economic growth 

On WNYC’s “Ask Governor Murphy” program earlier this week, Governor Murphy said that the process of awarding licenses to restaurants is something “we really want to see reformed.”

New Jersey’s current liquor licensing system is generally seen as restrictive. The number of liquor licenses that are awarded are based on a municipality’s population. There are caps in place limiting the number of licenses — meaning the licenses that are available are expensive and valuable.

Murphy said members of his staff recently held their first “stakeholder meeting” to “war game different models” for how to reform the process. One concern, he said, is to make sure reforms are also fair to businesses that already have paid for their licenses.

“Other states have done it, and it’s a game changer for main streets for downtown [areas], an absolute game changer,” Murphy said. “And coming out of this pandemic, with the economic recovery … we want to put as much jet fuel into that recovery as possible. Getting a smart, sensible, responsible liquor license reform in place is going to be a big chunk of that.”

NJ tax revues remain high

The Murphy Administration says it expects to collect nearly $47 billion in taxes for the current fiscal year that ends June 30. That is nearly $5 billion above initial estimates last summer and more than $8 billion higher than the pre-pandemic peak in 2019.

That follows a remarkable forecast adjustment last year when surging tax revenues transformed a projected shortfall of nearly $6 billion into a $10 billion windfall.

The surge in state tax revenues is driven in part by a robust economic recovery, but inflation is one of several factors that should give lawmakers pause as they negotiate a state budget in the coming months, experts say.

New state fund to invest in NJ startups

Last week, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority voted to create the Innovation Evergreen Fund. The new fund will be seeded with cash raised from the auction of state tax credits, with the first auction expected to be held by the end of summer. The plan envisions that about $250 million can be raised as seed money over five years. From there, the state plans to partner with venture capital firms that will also be expected to pitch in matching dollars — pushing the total potential investment to $500 million, or more — all to help nurture small, New Jersey-based startup companies with high growth potential.

The idea is to use the fund to help a promising company get established and potentially take off — all in New Jersey. The fund’s first investments could occur before the end of the year.

“It’s helping companies and helping business plans, that, maybe it’s one or two people today, maybe it’s five or 10 people today, that could be 5,000 or 10,000 people in 10 years,” said EDA Executive Director Tim Sullivan.

New Legislator Profile: Assemblyman Michael Torrissi, Jr. (R-8): Assemblyman Torrissi was elected to the New Jersey General Assembly in November 2021 and serves on the Assembly Special Committee on Infrastructure and Natural Resources, Oversight and Reform and Federal Relations Committees.

Prior to being elected to the Assembly, Torrissi served on the Town of Hammonton Council. He earned a degree from Rutgers University and is the Vice President of Torrissi Coraluzzo Transport.

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River Crossing Strategy Group congratulates our friends at the Staten Island FerryHawks, the newest and most exciting team in the Atlantic League, on their first game of their inaugural season.

Follow the FerryHawks throughout the season on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Youtube and visit the SI FerryHawks website for schedule and ticket information.