GSBE Business Update 08/17/2020
Tax the rich, or borrow big?
That’s the central quandary for California Democrats as they try to dig the state out of a $54 billion hole while also providing relief to the millions of people teetering on the edge of a financial cliff. The party’s progressive wing is pushing a bill that would permanently raise taxes on millionaires and is also backing Prop. 15 on the November ballot, which would hike taxes on large commercial properties. Meanwhile, the party’s moderate wing is advancing a $100 billion “no tax” proposal that would borrow money from the feds and encourage Californians to pre-pay income taxes in exchange for future vouchers.
Assemblymember Miguel Santiago, a Los Angeles Democrat who wrote the millionaire tax bill: “We’re talking about folks who are doing extremely well in California while the rest of California hurts. This affects less than 0.5% of tax filers in the state.”
State Sen. Bob Hertzberg, a Los Angeles Democrat who proposed the $100 billion package: “We have to be smart about how we fund government. The way we’re doing it now is causing unnecessary problems, causing unnecessary tension among parties.”
Lawmakers have until Aug. 31 to pick a path, though that timeline could be extended if Gov. Gavin Newsom calls for a special legislative session.
Tensions escalated this week after a bipartisan group of 61 legislators called on Newsom to immediately start paying 1 million backlogged unemployment claims. Though California’s initial unemployment claims decreased the past two weeks, more than 7.3 million residents have filed initial claims since mid-March. Meanwhile, workers are increasingly pessimistic they will regain their jobs, according to a Thursday report from the state Employment Development Department and the California Policy Lab.
COVID-19 Reopening Employer Handbook
The Governor has released a 32-page handbook to help employers “plan and prepare for reopening their business and to support a safe, clean environment for workers and customers.” Alongside our industry partners, we have been working closely with the Governor’s staff to advise on practical issues related to opening commercial and industrial spaces.
Click here to read the Governor’s “Employer Playbook” and make sure you are protecting yourself and your business as you bring employees and customers back into your facilities. Also, to aid businesses looking to ReOpen Safely, CalChamber has compiled an extensive list of Q&As to answer your questions.
EV Charger Installation Update
AB 841 was approved by the Senate Energy Committee this week. The most notable provision requires EV charging facilities funded by the CPUC, CEC, or CARB to be installed by an appropriately licensed contractor and at least one electrician who has passed the EV Infrastructure Training Program (EVITP). EVITP is a collaboration of industry stakeholders including IBEW and NECA. But there are only 3,000 certified electricians in the US and Canada and 68 California contractors who employ these certified electricians.
Edu Facilities Construction Update
Public Policy Institute of California released their report, “Improving K–12 School Facilities in California,” that outlines that maintaining and improving California’s K–12 school facilities will involve significant new and ongoing costs—one estimate suggests more than $100 billion over the next decade. Read report here. Summary here.
Find Your Business Sector On CA Grants Portal
The California State Library aids business sectors with a portal to find all state grant and loan opportunities. California Grants Portal houses first come, first serve grants for businesses, individuals, nonprofit organizations, public agencies, and tribal governments in all sectors of the economy. Find your grant here.
Liability Protections, 501(C)6 Relief Top Priorities for COVID Relief Bill
The House, Senate and President are negotiating “phase four” of coronavirus relief bill negotiations. Two of our highest priorities are ensuring businesses have a coronavirus liability shield as they reopen and extending federal relief to 501(c)6 nonprofits. The Senate bill proposes to protect businesses, except those that have shown “gross negligence”, from liability if they prove they have made “reasonable efforts” to comply with government guidelines. The House and Senate relief bills would allow many 501(c)6 organizations to be eligible for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan, but liability protection is missing from the House bill. Help us and contact your House Representative and Senators HERE to let them know how imperative these policies are.