Formally introduced by Senator Andreas Borgeas (R-Fresno), the Keep California Working Act (Senate Bill 74) would invest $2.6 billion (10% of California’s projected budget surplus) in grants to help small businesses that have sustained financial losses during COVID-19. The bill includes an urgency clause so that it can take effect immediately upon approval.
Many small businesses are struggling to survive and recent data indicates that close to one third of small businesses will not survive beyond January 2021 without additional funding.
SB 74 would be in addition to Governor Newsom’s November 30 announcement to provide $500 million in assistance for small businesses, many of whom have been devastated by stay-at-home orders and arbitrary guidelines.
The Governor’s latest order allows retail establishments to operate at 20% customer capacity, but 20% has a much different effect on small family businesses than on “big-box” corporate retailers. Removing 80% of a small retailer’s customer capacity is tantamount to shutting most of them down.
Furthermore, California employers have worked hard since March to protect the health of their employees and customers through the investment of plastic barriers, outdoor tents, and other infrastructure designed to limit the spread of COVID-19. The Governor’s latest order ignores those investments.
SB 74 would lessen some of the economic pain faced by small businesses and help save jobs.