Last week I supported bi-partisan legislation signed by the Governor to mitigate the economic and social damage done by the long, state-imposed COVID shutdowns.
This legislative package, funded without new taxes from existing General Fund revenues, included a bill I co-authored to provide assistance for small businesses and nonprofits, many right here in our region. Thousands of businesses throughout California have seen their revenues plummet, with many forced into bankruptcy. $2.1 billion will be appropriated for the California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program. Grants up to $25,000 will be available to support small businesses and nonprofits. Other legislation will waive license and renewal fees for two years for more than 600,000 barbering and cosmetology individuals and businesses, along with about 50,000 restaurants and bars that were forced to close.
Similar to earlier federal COVID-relief efforts, California will provide one-time direct relief payments of $600 to low income individuals. To prevent recipients of federal pandemic relief payments from being penalized for receiving the assistance, state laws will conform to federal laws by exempting the federal relief payments from consideration under CalWORKs eligibility requirements. Working parents struggling to stay at work while caring for their children will see funding increased for emergency vouchers, stipends and other childcare costs through additional funding appropriated from the CARES Act. Still another bill will promote access to the state’s preschool program, encourage enrollment and retention of low-income community college students, and help college students maintain their food and nutrition benefits.
It is the responsibility of state government to step up and try to repair the damage done to the hard working men and women of California, who through no fault of their own, were forced from their businesses and their jobs. Last week we took a step in that direction.