A bill sponsored by New Jersey Republicans would establish a four-month sales tax holiday for the state’s food and beverage establishments as they recover amid the financial ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic.
The bill would give qualifying establishments the ability to keep up to $70,000 in taxable sales per eligible business each month through the four-month period.
Much like food establishments across the nation, New Jersey restaurants and bars bore the brunt of the pandemic-related restrictions first enacted in March 2020, but many of these restrictions were being loosened country-wide. New Jersey began its reopening drive in lock-step with New York and Connecticut, with most restrictions lifting May 19.
Sponsored by State Sen. Anthony Bucco (R-25), Assemblyman Christopher DePhillips (R-40), and Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso (R-13), the legislation was introduced in both the State Senate and the General Assembly.
Protecting New Jersey Businesses
State Sen. Bucco positioned the legislation as a lifeline to small businesses across the state that were simply trying to survive.
“Nearly 40% of our restaurants have closed temporarily or permanently, while many that remain face financial challenges that may be difficult to overcome without assistance. Our proposal to create a sales tax holiday would help this important industry to survive long enough for our state’s reopening to support their full recovery,” said Bucco.
The law would affect alcoholic beverage establishments, including wineries, breweries, distilleries, and brew pubs; restaurant and food establishments, but excluding fast-food restaurants; and mobile foodservice establishments like food trucks and food stands.
“We have the resources to help the restaurants and workers who have been hurt gravely by the governor’s overbearing executive orders over the past year,” said DePhillips. “A sales tax holiday would provide them critical relief and support the recovery of Main Streets across New Jersey.”
The legislation was modeled after similar efforts underway in both New Mexico and Colorado.
Prior Efforts to Protect Restaurants
Bucco previously introduced bills that would provide guidance for restaurants and other businesses as the pandemic subsided.
The bills included a standardized, data-backed restriction system which would allow for expanded indoor capacity for banquet and wedding halls, restaurants, and bars provided low infection rates.
Additionally, legislation was advanced to make it easier for food establishments to utilize heaters and tents for outdoor dining.