As lawmakers in New Jersey fanned out to promote the benefits of the American Rescue Plan, Rep. Josh Gottheimer highlighted the monies that will be used through the 5th Congressional District.
Gottheimer joined local small business and restaurant owners outside of the Allendale Bar & Grill on March 12 to unveil federal dollars to be dispersed from the new coronavirus stimulus package. The bill includes federal dollars for every county and local government in the Fifth District, new relief for restaurants and businesses, investments in broadband and infrastructure improvements, direct checks for adults and children, and resources to safely reopen schools — all things the congressman said will enable local economies and communities to reopen and recover.
“Clawing back these federal COVID-19 relief dollars…will help us get to the other side of this pandemic” said Gottheimer. “I believe we’re finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, because we all know this hasn’t been an easy time for our country or for our state.”
Small Business Help
The bill includes federal aid for small businesses toplinded by $15 billion in new funding for Targeted EIDL grants, available to hard-hit, underserved small businesses, $7.25 billion in additional Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) forgivable loans, and $1.25 billion in grants for shuttered live venue operators.
Gottheimer was in Allendale to highlight a new $28.7 billion the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. The fund will offer assistance to restaurants and bars hit hard by the pandemic and Restaurant Revitalization Fund grants will provide a maximum $10 million per restaurant group or $5 million per individual restaurant location. Eligible businesses include: restaurants and bars that are not part of an affiliated restaurant group with more than 20 locations, and are not publicly traded.
All in the Family
For the Kunisch family, fourth generation owners of the Allendale Bar & Grill, the federal aid has allowed them to keep their business alive.
“One of the biggest parts for us is the Restaurant Revitalization Fund,” said restaurant owner Craig Kunisch. “This plan and the first round of the PPP really gives us the best chance possible to give it to a fifth generation.”
The congressman noted the Bergen County restaurant is one of the recipients of the over 63,000 federal PPP forgivable loans in New Jersey thus far, allowing it to help pay employees and keep their doors open during the pandemic. Allendale will now receive more than $661,000 in direct federal COVID-19 relief.
“We fought for and secured critical resources to our small businesses and restaurants like Allendale Bar and Grill, which will qualify for special restaurant and venue grants on top of the second round of available PPP forgivable loans,” said Gottheimer. “We need to do everything we can to help small businesses like these pull through the pandemic, so we can all gather on main streets like this one for a burger and beer when this is all over.”
Counties and town making up the fifth district will receive an estimated total $476 million from the new relief package; the state will receive $9.3 billion overall.
“We’re clawing back millions of dollars to the Fifth District to help every single county and town government, get vaccines into more arms, bring critical dollars to our schools and to those who’ve lost their jobs or need help with child care,” he said. “It will also inject essential investment into our communities, to help pay for cops, firefighters, and EMTs, and invest in local infrastructure, including to help boost broadband and help improve our old pipes and water infrastructure.”
By county, the American Rescue Plan will provide the following funding to counties in the fifth district: $259.7 million to Bergen County and $53.3 million to individual municipalities in the county; $97.3 million to Passaic County and $3.8 million to individual municipalities in the county; $27.3 million to Sussex County and $9.3 million to individual municipalities in the county; and $20.4 million to Warren County and $6.5 million to individual municipalities in the county.
Help for Now, Later
Gottheimer, who noted the founding formula was decided by population and needed enabling the Garden State to get its fair share, concluded that the coronavirus stimulus package will help New Jersey—and the country—now and in the future.
“I’m very proud of the many ways I helped shape the legislation, from support for restaurants to broadband for our rural communities to lower taxes for our families to help for our nursing homes,” he said. “ (This) was a win for our communities, for our families, for our small businesses—and, most importantly, for our health. It will help us get to the other side of this pandemic.”