BUSINESS REPORT

NJ’s economy hit from COVID-19 wasn’t as bad as other states

BY Rhonda Schaffler, Correspondent |

New Jersey’s GDP, which is the broadest measurement of the economy, shrank by 5.5% in the first three months of this year, reflecting the impact of the stay-at-home order issued in March. But New Jersey’s economy did shrink less than the economies of neighboring New York and Pennsylvania. Every state in the country saw their economies contract to some degree.

New Jersey’s new $100 million rental assistance program began accepting applications Monday and 23,000 residents applied on the first day. Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver is concerned there’s not going to be enough money to help everyone in need, urging the federal government to provide more funding for the program.

South Jersey businessman George Norcross has lost a court battle in a case that centered on an investigation into New Jersey’s former controversial tax incentive program. Norcross claimed he was targeted by Gov. Phil Murphy’s tax incentive task force, but a state appeals court rejected that claim. Later this week the task force will issue its final report on the now-expired tax incentive program, which had been criticized for its awards to large companies

A federal program designed to assist small businesses helped out a lot of big businesses and some billionaires. According to a list released by the Trump administration, the PPP loan program provided funds to Wall Street firms, big restaurant chains, political groups on both sides of the aisle and companies owned by billionaires. Even rapper Kanye West’s sneaker line received funding.