The restaurants and businesses in New Jersey can ill afford another round of shutdowns, restrictions or an extended unemployment benefit period.

Many have stayed afloat over the last few months and since March of 2020 but many have had to close their doors temporarily or forever for the reasons above or branches of them including a labor shortage.

Taxes keep going up, people are moving out or retiring elsewhere and those who remain are hoping New Jersey becomes more affordable to live and work in.

The covid pandemic in some circles exposed financial woes from the state that need to be addressed so people have a better chance at getting what they need for their homes, families, businesses, and so forth.

State Senator Michael Testa (R-LD1) has taken issue with the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development patting themselves on the back for the progress they made in 2021 in a press release earlier this month.

"You had the commissioner from the Department of Labor being applauded for the great job that they have done. If I had to give the Department of Labor a grade, they would get, at best, a D," Testa tells Townsquare Media News. "Let's be honest about their performances during the Covid-19 era, they are still not seeing people in person. There are thousands upon thousands of people that my legislative district office has helped."

Testa explains that the people asking for help are "extremely frustrated" at what's been going on and in trying to get help to stay afloat, pointing at the Department of Labor and the Murphy administration.

"You have employers who are just wholly unsure of what they need to do to remain open, how many people they're allowed to have there, whether everybody needs to be vaccinated, whether everyone needs to be bolstered -- it's really left our employers in a real conundrum as to what they are supposed to do," Testa tells Townsquare Media News. "The Murphy administration proves time and again that they are so out of touch with the average New Jerseyan and so tone-deaf to the needs of the average New Jerseyan and business owners. They have to look at their own record, they've crushed over 1/3 of all small businesses in the state of New Jersey during the Covid-19 era that will never open their doors again. We're talking about multi-generational businesses, the small mom-and-pop businesses that are the backbone of our economy, that are the backbone of our culture and our community."

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"You keep on hearing from this administration (Murphy administration) that they want to make New Jersey stronger and fairer while they are making New Jersey weaker and poorer. Every single decision that they have made has made New Jersyans weaker and poorer," Testa said. "We've seen over 30-percent of our small businesses will never open their doors again. We need to have the Department of Labor situation figured out."

Senator Testa has introduced legislation that would try and speed up the process to help small businesses, in particular, to stay afloat and recover some money they had to dole out for Covid related expenses.

The bill, (S-4254), which cleared the Senate, would allow those kinds of businesses who have less than 50 employees to receive a tax benefit.

"New Jersey is all about our small businesses, if our small businesses close and shut their doors forever, New Jerseyans are already going to be in a worse spot than they currently find themselves in," Testa said. "This bill helps our small businesses recoup some of their costs, get on their feet, stabilize what has been completely unfounded territory that they have found themselves in and it helps them navigate the difficult waters that Covid-19 has just dropped them in."

Under Testa's bill, businesses who qualify would also receive a “bonus depreciation allowance of up to $150,000 for expenses resulting from compliance with health and safety requirements imposed by Murphy’s executive orders."

The burdens facing small businesses and restaurants that make up the backbone of our eonaocmoy can also correlate to the state of New Jersey's financial woes as a whole due to rising taxes and how unaffordable it's becoming to live and work here.

"I've said this countless times from the floor in the senate, from probably my first month in the senate, that you hear terms like 'justice' get attached to various words whether it's educational justice, environmental justice -- it needs to be attached to the term 'taxpayer'," Testa said. "There needs to be taxpayer justice in the state of New Jersey. These are alarming statistics that we are dealing with and really, wholly being ignored, New Jerseyans are the most taxed burdened citizenry in the United States of America. People are under great stress. These are studies that are done that are shared on regular news, mainstream new-sites that New Jerseyans feel the most stressed in the United States of America due to how, really, financially unstable New Jersey is because of the outlook -- how am I going to afford a home, how am I going to afford taxes, how am I going to afford now to put gas in my car, how am I now going to afford to buy beef and chicken --  New Jerseyans are stressed."

You can see/hear more from Senator Testa on the latest episode of 'Eyes on The Jersey Shore'.

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