As we begin a new year, the head of the Assembly is vowing to continue the fight to make the Garden State a more affordable place to live.

Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, D-Middlesex, said the Anchor program, launched last year, will provide $2 billion in tax relief to New Jersey homeowners and renters, and those efforts will continue in 2023.

“We have the biggest tax cut in the history of the state, about 48% of the state’s budget goes to help reduce property taxes through municipal aid and aid to schools and programs like the Anchor program,” he said.

Practical help

Coughlin said he’s committed to finding avenues to help New Jerseyans save money in practical ways, like assisting towns pay for things like water pump stations and restoring municipal buildings so towns won’t have to borrow money to complete those kinds of projects.

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He noted the Assembly passed a six-bill package last month that’s designed to help “small businesses continue to build and grow. We all know small business is the backbone of the economy here, giving them the tools to continue to succeed is particularly important as we exit the pandemic.”

Cheerful business team having morning briefing in office
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Helping business

One measure, A4749, sponsored by Coughlin calls for the creation of an informative but succinct, small business manual that details assistance programs and regulatory processes overseen by different state departments.

Another bill, A4748, requires the state Business Action Center to collect and share performance metrics, while A753 provides a cure period for minor first-time violations committed by small businesses, giving them an opportunity to fix an unintended error.

Three other measures, A4752, A4750 and A4751 help businesses navigate the internet, they require the Jersey Business Action Center to expand its database and another would establish a mentorship program for smaller businesses.

All of these bills are still pending in the state Senate.

Coughlin stressed the success of the business community “will help the success of the state and of the people who live here, we want businesses that flourish, that bring new and better and good jobs to employ people.”

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A critical role

“We’re best when the economy is churning, when people are working, when people have disposable income, and so the business community is a critical part of that," Coughlin said.

Coughlin said in 2023 we need to do everything we can “to help bring in and attract new businesses to New Jersey, and to keep businesses that are here in the years to come.”

He said work in the new year will also continue on legislation to address the rise in car theft “which we know has been a problem that has come to the fore and is a real challenge for people in New Jersey.”

For the first 11 months of last year, the State Police reported there were 14,322 vehicle thefts, a significant rise from 2021.

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