New state relief + calls for federal aid

At the 2020 California Economic Summit, the task force’s recommendations were a new round of grants and tax relief announced last week aimed at small business — 44 percent of which are at risk of going out of business, according to an August survey.

The measures include:

  • Automatic penalty- and interest-free tax extensions as well as new payment plan options, with billions in estimated impact and building on the Main Street Hiring Tax Credit
  • $500 million to fund grants of up to $25,000 for underserved businesses and nonprofits
  • A $12.5 million boost to the California Rebuilding Fund, enabling it to raise $125 million for low-interest loans to small businesses with less access to traditional banking institutions.

“This latest round of action at the state level will help bridge the financial gaps that are vexing our state’s mom-and-pop business owners and nonprofits while we wait for congressional action, and as we prepare for additional legislative action at the start of the year,” said Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins.

Meanwhile, chambers of commerce and civic organizations across the state — 100 in total, including several on the Central Coast — have joined together in seeking additional federal aid to save small businesses already struggling to survive and facing “catastrophic” renewed shelter-at-home orders. 

The coalition penned a letter to the state’s senators and congressional delegation requesting:

  • Extension and expansion of the Paycheck Protection Program to other business expenses
  • Forgiveness of the $20-billion-and-growing federal loan for California unemployment benefits, which otherwise will fall to taxpayers to repay
  • Emergency support for chambers of commerce and similar 501(c)(6) organizations as crucial support systems for small businesses in any future stimulus package.

The number of small businesses open has dropped 30 percent since January, the letter notes, and among those open, revenues are down 30 percent.

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