State lawmakers approve COVID-19 economic relief package

Supporting Small Businesses

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – California lawmakers Monday officially approved an economic relief package to help struggling businesses across the state.

Small businesses make up nearly half of California’s workforce. After a year of shutting down, opening up and adapting to a new way of work, thousands across the state will soon have access to resources for recovery.

State lawmakers and Gov. Gavin Newsom agreed to provide more than $2 billion in grants for small businesses affected by the pandemic, providing up to $25,000 per business, which is money that won’t need to be paid back.

“This is fantastic news and we couldn’t have done it any faster than we did it,” said Sen. Andreas Borgeas. “It’s a huge boom for the economy and the small business community.”

Borgeas originally introduced the idea to provide this amount of money.

The grant program is similar to one the governor rolled out late last year, but with just a fraction of funds, businesses got their money within weeks.

“For businesses most impacted, like restaurants, personal services, nail salons, child care services, many other kinds of businesses. And so we’ve gotten great feedback from people who’ve received those grants that they’re going to use that money to keep employees, to pay for inventory, to pay their rent,” said Dee Dee Myers, Newsom’s senior economic advisor.

Myers said when the program first launched, out of hundreds of thousands of applications, about 21,000 of the smallest businesses were chosen.

Of the businesses chosen, 77% were considered underserved and disadvantaged, owned by women, minorities, veterans, or in low-to-moderate income and rural communities, according to the governor’s office.

“I know people were disappointed they didn’t get grants in the first two rounds but the good news is the next set of rounds will be four times as much relief for those businesses who really need it, and that means four times as many jobs, four times as much inventory, four times as much investment in our community,” Myers said.

Other ways state leaders are trying to help include tax credits for qualified businesses and waiving state fees for those who had to shut down.

Another opportunity opening up: eBay is partnering with the state to offer free e-commerce trading to 300 California businesses to help them grow online.

“Businesses that have been able to transition to online have fared better than those who haven’t,” Myers explained.

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