Road Warrior Newsletter

February 26, 2010


Dear NJGCA Member:


Unless you have been completely ignoring my weekly communications – or hiding under a rock – you know that the State of New Jersey is in desperate financial shape.  For over a decade, our elected officials have charted a course to financial ruin that threatens New Jersey’s economy.  This crisis doesn’t only have the potential to harm your small business, but drive away your customers too.

Does that sound over the top?  It isn’t, and here’s why.

Due to the unbelievably bad financial situation inherited from the previous administration, Governor Christie is seeking to cut costs wherever he can.  He has to close the $2.2 Billion budget shortfall I reported to you earlier.  That means that there is a very real possibility that Trenton will seek to eliminate safety inspections as a way to save money and reduce their expenses. We adamantly oppose ending safety inspections, as this has serious financial implications for you.  More importantly though, it will also harm the rest of the motoring public, as we may all find ourselves driving next to dangerous vehicles on the road.

Can I see an elimination of safety inspections?  Yes, it is a real possibility -- and I have asked you to help me collect pictures, details, and documents to prove our case with state officials on why this is such a bad idea.  I have been making our feelings known with Governor Christie and the Legislature. Ultimately, this comes down to mathematics. The bean counters will undoubtedly point to any potential savings as justification for cutting this requirement.  The bean counters are counting the beans right now as I am writing to you.

Nevertheless, as we continue to oppose ending safety inspections, we are ramping up our efforts to move New Jersey to an All Private Inspection Program and eliminate the centralized lanes. This is sound public policy not only because it will save taxpayer dollars, but because it has been successfully implemented in other states. 

This is truly a no-brainer, but don’t think for a minute that it will be clear sailing to get this done. Right now the public perception is that “inspections are free” and most don’t realize they are paying for it as part of their annual vehicle registration.  Many in the Legislature are fearful of a voter backlash as people believe they will have to “pay for something they currently get free of charge”. Of course, that’s where we come in and we will have to all work collectively to educate the public on just how badly they are getting ripped off by the current system.   Motorists pay $29 per year as part of their annual registration, yet the State of NJ pays Parsons $22 every other year to inspect a motorist’s car.  NJ pays Parsons $56 million every year.  In a two year cycle, the state collects $58 per car, and pays $22 per car….hmmmmmmm.

But wait – it gets worse.  After a decade of raiding the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Trust Fund to balance the budget, the Christie Administration now finds the account ledger in the red with a negative $2 Billion balance.  You didn’t misread that.  In addition to the $2.2 Billion budget shortfall, the UI Fund is also missing $2 Billion. 

This shortfall borders on near-criminal behavior.  Our UI Fund was revised in the early 1980s and was so far ahead of its time, it built up massive reserves.  I know because I was part of a small business coalition that made the revisions.  However, part of the revised law stated that when resources reached a certain low-level of funding, a mandatory tax increase kicks in to replenish the program.  Why is this significant?  Because the program worked so well in building up funds, that as recently as 2002 there was $3 BILLION reserved in the fund.    State officials have raided the Unemployment Trust Fund for over $4.7 BILLION over the years to balance the general budget!!  NJ has borrowed $1.2 BILLION in recent years to pay our state’s unemployment claims.  They should remove the word TRUST from the fund as obviously there hasn’t been any TRUST attributed to the fund for the past 8 years.  There isn’t anything TRUSTworthy about the fund.  I have hope that Governor Christie will restore TRUST to the fund.

The level of tax increases is automatic and called for by the law.  The amount is approximately $800 PER EMPLYOYEE PER YEAR and would be a huge burden on your business.   Governor Christie understands that business owners shouldn’t be slapped for the misbehavior of past administrations. 

I, along with leaders of other business groups, have raised this concern with Governor Christie.  This morning I was contacted by the Governor’s office to inform me that changes will be made to reduce the amount of tax that will be imposed on your business.  In fact when my cell phone rang I was in the Office of the State Treasurer discussing the NJ Inspection Program.

Governor Christie is reducing Unemployment benefits instead.  Making these adjustments means that the mandatory maximum UI Fund tax increase won’t be fully triggered.  Instead, Governor Christie is opting for much smaller increases over each of the next three years.  This combined with reductions in benefits to those seeking UI claims, will result in the tax increase imposed on your business to be approximately $130 per employee per year.  This is a huge improvement over what the law is set to trigger upon you now.

But here is the best part: The Governor is so keen on working with the small business community because he understands you are overburdened that he has asked me to inform you of this news BEFORE it is officially announced at 3PM today.

You didn’t misread that.  Governor Christie is set to make this announcement today, February 25, 2010 at 3pm, and I wanted you to know that NJGCA is right in the thick of the action in Trenton and keeping you well informed!

Here is a quick update fresh from my weekly conference call with the suits at MVC/Parsons:  Beta testing at PIFs is beginning at 2 locations today.  The other 11 PIF Beta sites will begin operations next week.  Switchover of ALL PIFs will commence during the week of March 15.  Ten CIF locations have been converted as of today.

I have been asked to remind you that you will not be able to have the new system implemented at your location if you have not had your fingerprints done.  Incredibly, there are still lots of you that haven’t completed this task.  Is there anything special you guys are waiting for???

All of this taken together may be a bit much for you to full absorb.  After all, as a small business owner, you’ve got a lot on your plate and many responsibilities. Luckily, I have just the solution for you to not only get a little relaxation but also help your small business at the same time: COME TO THE NORTHEAST 2010 TRADESHOW.

Building on last year’s success, NJGCA is continuing our partnership with AASP/NJ to give you a tradeshow like no other.  This event is the only tradeshow in the region to combine the gasoline retail, convenience store, automotive repair, and auto body industries in one place.

No matter if you are a veteran station owner, a new convenience store operator or a seasoned auto mechanic, NORTHEAST 2010 promises to have something for everyone!  There will be exhibitors there with the latest products and services to help your small business not only survive, but thrive in this economy.  And to compliment our wide array of vendors from around the industry, we are also proud to announce a series of workshops and seminars designed to help you better your small business, including:

-The Fat Margins Workshop: Designed to HELP YOU fatten your bottom-line and remain profitable, no matter what kind of establishment you operate.
-Food Safety 101 Workshop: Presented by industry veteran Andy Joslin, this program is designed to help convenience store owners understand risk management and expand your compliance education.
-Health Insurance Workshop: Moderated by the professionals at Association Master Trust, this seminar focuses on how to save money while providing your employees with the best health coverage possible.
-Family Fun Day: An extravaganza like no other.  Bring your family and employees for an exciting afternoon of food, amusements, and activities!! There will be games for kids of all ages, from art projects for the tiny tikes to a dunk tank for the more mature around us!

You will be receiving your Special Tradeshow Edition of our On The Road quarterly publication very soon with all the details.  However, you don’t have to wait to get yours in the mail before you start planning for NORTHEAST 2010.  You can get full details on the show by clicking HERE and visiting the NJGCA Tradeshow website

Now more than ever we have to bind together to support our small businesses and each other.  NORTHEAST 2010 is a conduit to help us achieve that collectively.  Where else can you get access to a world-class tradeshow, gain exposure to essential products and information to help your small business, AND have fun while doing it?  NO WHERE!! 

This is a MUST SEE event and I encourage you to save March 19th-21st on your calendar, then register FOR FREE by clicking HERE.

Tom’s Dad…..Thanks for reading.  See you next week!

Sal Risalvato
Executive Director

                  SAVE THE DATE AND ATTEND NORTHEAST 2010!                      


 To Register for the Tradeshow FREE OF CHARGE click HERE
to visit the NORTHEAST 2010 Registration Page!

For more details & information, visit the NJGCA Tradeshow Homepage by clicking HERE


 IN THIS WEEK’S NJGCA ROAD WARRIOR                                    

•See our new class schedule below!!

•Participate in the NJGCA PAC today and help us keep our Agenda rolling in Trenton!

•Sign up for classes aimed at improving your small business today!

•Are you interested in a position with PH2 Solutions?  See below for details!!

•Christie to propose changes to unemployment
•State pension under-funded by over $46 Billion
•Executive Order hits independent boards, commissions
•Shuttered car dealerships find new life as repair shops

 ON THE NJGCA HOMEPAGE                                                           

Check out all of our MBPs and Programs designed to SAVE YOU MONEY!

Looking for something? Take a look at our list of useful links!

Find all our communications and search for old e-newsletters. Take a look!

Need to catch up on events?  Want to see what's going on?  Find out here!

 KNOW YOUR TERRITORY MANAGER!                                           

Henry Darden: Territory Manager for Middlesex, Union, Part of Essex (Southern Half)

Cell: 908-247-2992

Jack Leli: Territory Manager for Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Ocean, Salem
Cell: 732-995-1637

Bob Quirk: Territory Manager for Bergen, Hudson, Part of Essex (Northern Half)
Cell: 201-214-8836

Frank Stewart: Territory Manager for Morris, Sussex, Warren, Hunterdon, Passaic
Cell: 973-234-7403
Don Stohrer: Territory Manager for Monmouth, Mercer, Somerset
Cell: 732-539-2955


Due to overwhelming demand, NJGCA has added additional classes in January, February and March!

Emission Repair Technician Re-Certification Class
NJGCA is offering the ETEP course that your ERT’s need in order to re-certify their license.

Our Course includes:
•New Jersey State Specific Information Course
•ETEP Section 6 “OBDII Monitoring Failures”
•Section 7 “Light-Duty Diesel Vehicle Technologies and Testing”.
•Five (5) nights class instruction

Everything your technician needs to Re-Certify his ERT license!!!

Class Cost (Including Manuals):
•NJGCA Member rates: $489.00
•NON-Member rates: $629.00

March Class - Rumson --- UPDATED!!
March 8th, 11th, 15th, 18th, & 22rd
Monday and Thursdays
7:00pm to 10:00pm

PLEASE NOTE: We are currently in the process of putting classes together for April, May and June. If you are interested in taking classes in this time period, please call NJGCA and let us know so we can add you to the list.

We are also looking to set up a 2 full-day ETEP class in Southern New Jersey in March.  If you are interested, please let us know!

Call Debbie Hill to enroll in the classes at or call 973-376-0066.


Ensuring our friends in the legislature are re-elected and advocating for our agenda in Trenton are of utmost importance to the agenda of NJGCA.

It is for this reason that your Association has established the NJGCA PAC.

For too long, the weight of funding our Political Action Committee, the arm of the Association responsible for political donations, has rested upon the shoulders of a few.  This is not fair to them, and it is not fair to many of you who are relying on the benefits of good legislation being passed in Trenton.

To truly understand the importance of fundraising for our allies, let’s look back upon the overwhelming successes of the last year:

NJGCA successfully lobbied against BELOW COST SELLING. If approved, BELOW COST SELLING would have cost each of you thousands of dollars and put many of you out of businesses.  NJGCA leaned on some of our friends in the Assembly and literally had the bill pulled off the floor on the day it was scheduled to be voted on.  Our friends in the Legislature helped us get this accomplished.

NJGCA made history and led the charge to pass the most comprehensive protection of franchisees in decades with FIRST RIGHT OF REFUSAL legislation.  FIRST RIGHT OF REFUSAL passed only because NJGCA and dealers throughout the state were able to lean on several friends in the Assembly and the Senate.

NJGCA has been rallying support for RIGHT TO REPAIR over the last two years among key legislators.  This would end the practice of car manufacturers denying you the codes necessary to complete the repairs you make on your customers cars.  Every state has tried to pass RIGHT TO REPAIR and no state has even been able to get the legislation out of committee.   Because of our friends in the Legislature, NJGCA has been successful in getting this bill passed by the Assembly and now awaits a vote in the Senate.

I am asking some of you as individuals to make a contribution and attend a fundraising event sponsored by one of our friends in the Assembly.

However, we will not be able to host events for all of our friends, so the NJGCA PAC will have to make contributions.  You will be receiving letters soon from the NJGCA PAC asking you to make contributions. 

If every member contributes just $100.00 we will be able to provide the help necessary to ensure victory for our allies.

66 Morris Avenue
Springfield, NJ 07081
Please make your donation payable to NJGCA PAC

I understand that times are tough for all NJGCA members, but this is just as important as any battle we have fought in the past.

We have made great progress in Trenton.  I hope that you will answer the call.


Affinity Federal Credit Union, an NJGCA Member Benefit Partner, is offering a number of classes designed specifically to help small business owners.

Some of these classes include:

•Managing Money Wisely
•Career Navigation in a Pink Slip Economy.
•Kean University Small Business Counseling Sessions
•Entrepreneur Certificate Program (ECP)
•Accounting and QuickBooks Certificate
•Small Business Seminars

•And much more!

Take advantage of this opportunity!  Click HERE to visit the Calendar of Events on the Affinity homepage and sign up for a class!

Pleas contact Phil Apruzzi with any questions or comments at 973-376-0066. 


An Employment Opportunity is available for Drivability Technicians with PH2 Solutions:

General Requirements: Seeking a qualified repair technician familiar with the fundamentals of On-Board Diagnostic (OBD II) drivability concepts such as DTC’s, Pending Codes, Data Stream and Readiness Monitors.

Position: Drivability Technicians

Role: Market Areas, Demonstrate, Train and Support unique and proven drivability software driven product.

Market Areas: NJ Counties - Essex, Union, Morris, Hudson, Passaic, and Bergen

Compensation type: Base + Commission

For information: Call 973.902.5517 or email your resume to or



Christie to propose changes to unemployment
Governor Christie announces changes to the state’s broken unemployment system.  Changes include reducing benefits to workers and limiting tax increases one employers. The plan will have to pass both houses of the Legislature before being signed into law.

State pension under-funded by over $46 Billion
The state’s pension system is currently under-funded by over $46 billion and the gap is growing.  An analysis by Treasury Department officials states that the gap grew from $34.4 billion a year earlier – a 30% increase in a single year.

Executive Order hits independent boards, commissions
Governor Christie has signed an Executive Order aimed at reining in the state’s independent boards, authorities and commissions.  The order will curtail their spending habits and create a mechanism for some of nearly 700 boards and authorities to be eliminated entirely.

Shuttered car dealerships find new life as repair shops
Retail giant Sears Holdings Corp. will offer former Chrysler and General Motors dealerships the opportunity to purchase Sears Auto Center franchises.  Sears believes that many closed dealerships, which continue to sell used cars, will benefit greatly by trading on the Sears name and utilizing the buying power of the Sears network.  The first location to take advantage of the program, Coleman Auto Group of East Windsor, N.J., was a former Chrysler dealership.



Serving the small businesses that serve the motorist