NJ nonprofits left hanging over law delaying unemployment tax hikes
TRENTON – A law enacted in January that cuts or delays increases in what employers pay for unemployment taxes that would have increased during the COVID-19 emergency does not cover some nonprofits, which are hoping that a follow-up bill to save them will be adopted in June.
Some nonprofits pay their unemployment insurance bills to the state through reimbursements if their workers are laid off or on leave, instead of payroll taxes like other businesses. A January law delaying steep unemployment tax hikes has been interpreted to keep self-insured nonprofits covered by their bills.
Given that they have had to cancel or cut programs and events, interrupting their funding and resulting in layoffs, this is an issue that the Legislative Assembly could address through Bill A5691 / S3714, which was passed. adopted by the labor committees of the Senate and the Assembly, but neither house.
“The self-insured, the reimbursers have been left out for the time being. We believe this bill will solve this problem, ”said Doug Schoenberger, government affairs specialist for the Center for Non-Profits.
“This is a corrective bill – fixes a gap and ensures predictability and financial stability in our nonprofit sector,” said Michael Egenton, executive vice president of the New State Chamber of Commerce Jersey.
We do not know what financial assistance the bill would provide to non-profit organizations.
Federal coronavirus relief programs have provided money to states to reimburse nonprofits for half of their unemployment costs since last March and 75% from April 1 to September 6 of this year. The bill calls for the state to use other federal COVID aid to cover the balance of liability if available and up to $ 50 million in public funds if needed.
“Our non-profit organizations are the state’s largest employers. And if we are to get back the jobs we lost in the pandemic, we need to cover them and make sure those bills don’t cripple them, ”said Christopher Emigholz, vice president of government affairs for the New Jersey Business and Industry Association. .
Over the past year, the state has recouped around 54% of the jobs lost in March and April 2020, when the pandemic began and partial closures and stay-at-home orders were issued.
“Equally important, our nonprofits support the rest of the economy as they are in the for-profit industries,” Emigholz said. “Things like child care, other services they provide to other employers are essential for other employers to return to work as they wish.”
Paul Kieltyka, outgoing president of the New Jersey YMCA State Alliance, said the proposed aid “couldn’t come at a better time.”
Kieltyka said YMCAs statewide owed more than $ 5.5 million in unemployment assessments. The Summit Area YMCA, of which he is president and CEO, owes $ 330,000. He said the YMCAs could not get state grants because of these unpaid bills.
“The challenge for nonprofits, that we have actually lost 60 to 80% of our revenue. We laid off between 50% and 75% of our staff in 2020, ”said Kieltyka, who added that more layoffs would follow if nonprofits were to pay their unemployment contributions. “… And that would mean that financially, and like many of my nonprofit siblings across the state, I might not survive.”
Michael Goldstein, executive director of the Central New Jersey JCC in Scotch Plains, said his social services agency had gone from $ 10 million in annual revenue before the pandemic to $ 6.5 million projected this year, mostly in due to capacity limits and restrictions on things like summer. camp and preschool.
He said “high unemployment bills” threatened the financial stability of nonprofits.
“These steep and devastating UI bills, if left unaddressed, will leave even less funds available for charitable missions when they are needed most,” Goldstein said.
Michael Symons is the State House bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5. Contact him at [email protected].
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