State Senator Andreas Borgeas asked a very important question in a recent California Globe interview: “How do we help small business now?”
He asked the question, but already had the answer. Sen. Borgeas (R-Fresno) recently authored the Keep California Working Act, in Senate Bill 74, jointly introduced with Sen. Anna Caballero (D-Salinas) to invest $2.6 billion in grants to help small businesses and employees that have sustained financial losses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Borgeas said the bill includes an urgency clause so that it can take effect immediately upon approval.
“If businesses survived the last nine months, they’ve done it by the skin of their teeth,” Borgeas said. “They can’t do it now. We need to keep California working.”
Borgeas said the Legislative Analyst’s Office recommended the Legislature consider dedicating $13 billion, about half of the anticipated budget surplus windfall, into a one-time capital reinvestment. Borgeas asked for 10% of California’s projected surplus for a $2.6 billion grant program across the state.
Tuesday Gov. Gavin Newsom previewed his “Equitable Recovery for California’s Businesses and Jobs” plan on Facebook (be sure to read the comments), the business and workforce recovery elements of his 2021-22 State Budget that will help California through the COVID-19 pandemic and advance an equitable, broad-based recovery, according to his press release.
“Building on actions the state has taken to support California’s businesses throughout the pandemic, including emergency aid and regulatory relief, these proposals double down on the Newsom Administration’s commitment to rebuilding the economy, with investments across sectors and benefits for businesses of all sizes,” the governor’s press statement said.
Really? “Building on actions the state has taken to support California’s businesses throughout the pandemic…” The governor’s executive orders shutting down most small businesses throughout the state has had a devastating effect on the business owners, employees and families as much as anything that has happened, as well as driving a stake through the heart of the California economy. Especially since more than 30 million Californians have tested negative for COVID-19, many are asking why the entire state was forced to lockdown for nine months, with no end in sight.
And the governor’s $500 million grant program for small businesses has serious data breach issues, according to some small business owners who made the application Dec. 29th, only to find their personal information was totally incorrect, including social security numbers, addresses, and even the spelling of their names.
“California’s businesses and employees have made tremendous sacrifices to protect the health of our communities,” said Senator Borgeas. “If the Governor is going to mandate businesses close, then they deserve a more aggressive investment in relief efforts. I am proud this measure already has broad bipartisan, bicameral support in the Legislature, and I look forward to working across the aisle with my colleagues to help local businesses.”
“Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses and their employees have continued to sustain our economy but have taken some serious hits,” said Senator Caballero. “We cannot ask that they continue to suffer loss without a swift and expedited plan to send relief their way. I look forward to working in a bipartisan manner to ensure that we do the right thing, and support our local small businesses and their employees.”
Sen. Borgeas said with California unsure what the federal government stimulus will actually look like, or when it is delivered, this bill is a vehicle that can help businesses in every part of the state.
The bill has significant bipartisan support, with 25 co-authors between the Senate and Assembly.