NFIB California Main Street Minute

Date: December 07, 2020

For the legislative and political weeks December 7-18

Welcome to the December 7 edition of the NFIB California Main Street Minute from your small-business advocacy team in Sacramento.

Lockdown!

  • The state is now under a Regional Stay at Home Order that took effect Saturday in regions with less than 15 percent ICU availability. But some counties have decided not to wait until it falls to 15 percent and have instituted earlier lockdowns.
  • Retail establishments were allowed to stay open but at 20 percent customer capacity. The hammer is falling hardest on businesses such as restaurants – no more outside dining – personal services, and gyms to name a few.
  • In a news release widely reported by the media throughout the state, NFIB California State Director John Kabateck took exception to the latest order. “… families and social gatherings are driving the increases in COVID-19 cases—not small businesses. Removing 80% of a small retailer’s customer capacity is as good as shutting them down completely.”
  • Kabateck would seem to have some support for his position from Dr. Scott Morrow, San Mateo County’s chief health officer, who is allowing outdoor dining and in-door personal care services to continue operating for now. “I am not supportive of these actions and, for San Mateo County, I believe they are misdirected and will cause more harm than good. This action is a bit like looking for your lost keys under a streetlight even though you lost them miles away. If you have read my previous statements, you know I put great import on balance. We have to minimize spread while not destroying everything else in the process.”

On Other Issues

  • NFIB members are strongly encouraged to see if they qualify for any of the $500 million in COVID-relief grants, small business hiring credit, or California Rebuilding Fund announced by the state. Also remember, the governor has extended the deadline for remitting to the state what you have collected in sales taxes. Click here for a story with further information and links.
  • NFIB’s Small Business Legal Center produced a handy guide on the new Cal/OSHA COVID-19 requirements, which are now in effect and which every employer with more than one employee should acquaint himself or herself with.
  • Will backers of a split-roll property tax fare better next time, after their Proposition 15 was rejected by voters, 52% to 48%? The ballot initiative had sought to separate how business and residential property are taxed, essentially upending the Proposition 13 protections put in place by voters more than 40 years ago.
  • A poll conducted by the Institute of Governmental Studies at U.C. Berkeley would seem to indicate supporters of a split-roll property tax have an uphill climb if they want to try again. “The findings indicate that California voters continue to broadly support Proposition13 and would endorse its passage by a wide margin if it were up for a vote again today. While there has been a steady increase in the proportion of voters with no opinion of the iconic initiative over the years, among voters voicing an opinion, supporters outnumber opponents by a nearly three to one margin (53% to 19%). Click here to read more.
  • Oh, and one more thing. “In addition, the poll found that an historically large proportion of voters (81%) now feels the level of state and local taxes paid by the average Californian is high, while just 19% consider taxes in the state to below or about right.”
  • The man who helped engineer the defeat of Prop. 15 is the special guest of the latest NFIB California podcast. Tom Ross, a co-founder of Meridian Pacific, tells how the No on 15 campaign did it. Ross also discusses the future of Assembly Bill 5 and who will be the next Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2020. Hint: Another Californian.
  • And speaking of paying taxes, the state’s nonpartisan legislative analyst says California raked in more money than expected—all during a pandemic! “We find the budget situation has improved considerably relative to the June budget act with an estimated $26 billion windfall in 2021-22. However, the state also faces an operating deficit beginning in 2021-22 and throughout the outlook period, growing to $17 billion by 2024-25. Our analysis also finds it is quite unlikely for revenues to grow fast enough for the budget to break even and erase the operating deficit.”
  • Uh, oh, there’s putting your foot on Superman’s cape. No way around it, legislators, you’re going to have to make some cuts somewhere in the budget, but thanks to the good revenue news, they won’t have to be so deep—if done right.
  • And spending taxpayers’ money is what the Legislature always does right. Right? California State Auditor Elaine Howle reports, “In total, we identified more than $800,000 of inappropriate expenditures and millions of dollars more that the State will wastefully spend unless it takes appropriate corrective action.” And that leaves aside the Employment Development Department (EDD) fiasco, and don’t get her started on cities like West Covina.

Nationally

  • Two big initiatives of importance to small businesses remain to be resolved in the final days of this Congressional session.
  • One is the National Defense Authorization Act, which contains a very anti-small-business element, Warns Kevin Kuhlman, NFIB’s vice president of federal government relations, “It is wrong for Congress to try and pass this problematic small business mandate under the cover of funding the military. There is never a good time to stick small businesses with higher costs and jeopardize their owners’ privacy, but this is clearly the worst time and the least transparent strategy. NFIB has defeated this terrible idea before, and we’ll continue to fight for our members. Jamming this new paperwork mandate in the defense bill during a pandemic is the wrong policy in the wrong place at the wrong time.” More information here.
  • NFIB is calling on its membership to tell Congress today to remove the so-called Corporate Transparency Act from the defense bill.
  • On initiatives NFIB is fighting for, not against, are a second round of PPP loans, PPP forgiven expense deductibility, and liability protections. More information here.

Next Main Street Minute, December 21.

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