Fiocchi wants minimum wage tax credits for seasonal businesses

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WILDWOOD – Assemblyman Sam Fiocchi visited the Wildwood Boardwalk Monday to discuss a bill he says would ease the burden of New Jersey’s increased minimum wage on seasonal businesses.

Joined by Cape May County Freeholder Will Morey and Ocean City Mayor Jay Gillian, Fiocchi announced that he has sponsored a bill that would provide seasonal employers with tax credits due to the increase in the state minimum wage.

“Our economy is on the rebound and a key part of the turnaround will be along the Jersey Shore this summer and the potential for job creation.” Fiocchi said in a statement. “Small businesses are the lifeblood of our state, especially the seasonal ones. Overcoming the damage caused by Sandy was an enormous challenge, but also dealing with a 14 percent increase in the minimum wage that is adjusted annually for inflation is also problematic. The storm is over, but the challenge of running a successful business is ongoing.”

In November, 61 percent of New Jersey voters approved a $1 increase in the state’s minimum wage to $8.25 an hour. Cost of living increases are set to be added each year. If the federal minimum wage is raised above the state’s rate, the state rate would also be raised to match it.

The proposed legislation provides seasonal employers with credits against their corporate business tax. Under Fiocchi’s bill, seasonal employers are allowed a tax credit equal to the total number of hours worked by eligible employees during the taxable year for which they are paid the state minimum wage, multiplied by the amount by which the state minimum exceeds the federal minimum wage, currently $1 per hour.

Fiocchi, who represents Cumberland, Cape May, and a portion of Atlantic counties, said that the issue was especially important to New Jersey’s seasonal shore businesses, who are still recovering from Hurricane Sandy.

“Many businesses are rebounding from Sandy, but there are some who will just be reopening this year,” Fiocchi said in a statement. “Seasonal businesses that operate less than 30 weeks in a year have a small window to turn a profit. An important part of their business model is employing seasonal employees, especially students.”

Besides Fiocchi, the bill is also sponsored by Assemblyman Chris Brown (R-Atlantic).

The bill was introduced to the state Assembly in March and has been referred to the Assembly Labor Committee for consideration.

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