Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Jamel Holley to equip small businesses with the tools they need to grow and flourish gained final legislative approval from the General Assembly on Monday.

The bill (S-123/A-3559), which now heads to the Governor’s desk, would establish a “Small Business Bonding Readiness Assistance Program” through the state Economic Development Authority, which would provide support to small businesses and help them meet surety bonding requirements so they may bid on public works projects or perform contracts offered by the state or federal government.

“Because of all the requirements in place to qualify for government contracts it can often be cumbersome and confusing and discourage small business owners from trying to branch out and expand their operations in this way,” said Holley (D-Union). “This legislation will provide them with the tools and the know-how to pursue new avenues of revenue. This is another example of government working well for the people.”

The program is designed to increase the capacity of small businesses by improving their financial presentation, operational efficiency profitability, bonding capacity and knowledge through consulting sessions and workshops. The authority would be required to establish a special non-lapsing revolving fund to provide grant funding to small businesses that participate in the program.

“On the backend, this is also a win-win for taxpayers because increased competition inherently helps lower costs so more people vying for government contracts will ultimately help reduce the costs taxpayers must bear. So, we’re creating a more business-friendly environment in New Jersey while eyeing long-term savings for taxpayers,” concluded Holley.

The bill is also sponsored in the Assembly by Assembly Democrats Sheila Oliver, Benjie Wimberly, Elizabeth Maher Muoio, Eliana Pintor Marin and Raj Mukherji. It was unanimously approved by both houses of the Legislature and now awaits action from the Governor.