FILE - NJ family, boardwalk, businesses 9-1-2013

People walk along the boardwalk Sept. 1, 2013, in Ocean City, New Jersey.

(The Center Square) – Republican lawmakers want a special session to stop a multimillion dollar tax increase on New Jersey businesses.

New Jersey businesses could see a roughly $885 million unemployment insurance (UI) tax increase over three years, including a $252 million increase starting in October.

Last month, the New Jersey Business Coalition, a group of about 100 business, trade and nonprofit associations, sent a letter to Gov. Phil Murphy asking him to use federal money to eliminate the tax increase.

“We have billions of federal aid that could be used to avoid massive tax increases on businesses still trying to survive the pandemic,” Assembly Republican Budget Officer Hal Wirths, R-Sussex, said in a statement. “It would be unconscionable for Democrats in the Senate and Assembly to let Governor Murphy get away with yet another tax increase on businesses when the state has the funds to avoid it.”

Murphy previously signed legislation to assess the increase over three years.

During a news briefing earlier this week, Murphy did not specify how the state might spend its remaining American Rescue Plan (ARP) money. Between $2 billion and $2.5 billion of the $6.2 billion in ARP funds New Jersey received has been “spoken for,” Murphy said.

“We want to do this responsibly. We want to do this in a responsible and lasting manner. We want to do it with the Legislature,” Murphy said about allocating ARP money. “We have until the end of 2023 to deploy this money. We have got – I think we’ve developed a good process with the legislature in terms of stuff we have to do now that comes up.

“For instance, we’ve got one that we expect that will come up that we need money to administer a program, that we’ll be able to do that for a while with the monies we have,” the governor added, according to a transcript. “At a certain point, we’re going to need something before – sooner than later, and there’s a process set up for that, which is a good one with the legislature. We’ve had good conversations around that. More to come on that.”

According to published reports, Senate President Steve Sweeney, D-Gloucester, has indicated there are no plans to return until after November’s election.