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CA lawmakers discuss more relief for small businesses


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KRON) — Before California’s budget process formally begins, state lawmakers and the governor are already debating just how much COVID-19 relief should be given to small businesses.

State leaders from both sides of the aisle recognize they’ve been through so much during this pandemic.

Debate on California’s state budget — and how much of it should go toward economic relief — has already begun days before the legislature reports for duty.

“There needs to be a more robust capital investment to keep our economy going,” Republic State Senator Andreas Borgeas said.

Borgeas rolled out a relief package, proposing to invest $2.6 billion in grants for small businesses and non profits impacted by COVID-19 — with a maximum of $75,000 per grant.

That’s more than double what the governor proposed earlier this week.

“He’s on the right track,” Sen. Borgeas said. “We believe our needs are so great that even the modest $2.6 billion, which is 10% of the state’s one time projected unexpected revenue — the needs are just so much greater.”

Borgeas’ “Keep California Working Act” comes as several small businesses remain shuttered under regional stay at home orders. Many have spent nearly a year struggling amid the pandemic and state-imposed restrictions.

The proposal is based on the governor’s already existing small business grant program, prioritizing businesses depending on how impacted their area is by COVID-19, the amount of revenue loss, and equity.

“We need to make certain that large corporations are not taking advantage of this,” Borgeas said. “We also want to make sure it’s equitably distributed across California.”

The proposal is backed by more than a third of the California legislature, a mix of Democrats and Republicans. This could help speed its way through the Capitol.

The bill does have an urgency clause, meaning as soon as its passed, it can go into effect.

State budget negotiations officially begin Monday.

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