For the legislative and political week February 21-25
Welcome to the February 21-25 edition of the NFIB California Main Street Minute from your NFIB small-business-advocacy team in Sacramento.
Good morning. Happy Presidents’ Day
Small Business Day Set
- Let your voice be heard! NFIB California’s annual Small Business Day is March 8. It will be a virtual event from 11 a.m. to Noon. It’s free and you’re invited to bring a guest. A reservation is required. Click here to register and for more information about the event, including three top legislators who will be guests.
Big Legislative Deadline Passes
- Friday, February 18, was the last day for legislators to introduce new bills. Kevin Pedrotti, NFIB California’s chief legislative advocate, will be sifting through possibly as many as 2,000 bills to find the ones harmful or, less likely, helpful for small business. Fortunately, he’ll have a little time because any new bill cannot be heard by a committee for 30 days.
The Next COVID-19 Phase for California
- On Thursday (February 17), Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled his 30-page, California SMARTER, The Next Phase of California’s COVID-19 Response. Information on businesses and employees can be found on Page 25.
- “In our approach to this next phase, we will be smarter than ever before, using the lessons of the last two years to approach mitigation and adaptation measures through effective and timely strategies,” says the plan.
- The next day (February 18), in a guest editorial in CalMatters about the state’s research and development investments, Dee Dee Myers, the governor’s top economic policy director, also mentioned the administration’s small-business initiatives.
- “In addition to supporting investments in innovation, this early budget action also accelerates additional support for our state’s small businesses, which are the heart and soul of our local communities and the backbone of our economy.
- “First, the bill eliminates state tax for the federal Restaurant Revitalization Fund and Shuttered Venue Operators grants, which will provide vital savings for restaurants and theaters that continue to struggle due to the pandemic. Their recovery is critical to our state’s economy and to our collective creative culture.
- “Second, it invests an additional $150 million in the Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program. Last year, the program provided $4 billion in grants to more than 311,000 small businesses in highly impacted sectors, including hospitality, retail, tourism and the arts. These additional funds will allow us to serve thousands more businesses as they recover, bringing back lost jobs and creating new jobs.”
Supply Chain Disruptions
- The Legislative Analyst’s Office last week released a Supply Chain and Port Infrastructure Proposals report. Select highlights included here are:
- “… about 40 percent of U.S. imports and 25 percent of U.S. exports pass through the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which are both situated on San Pedro Bay.
- “In recent months, ports have experienced higher than normal levels of congestion. This is in part due to greater consumer demand for goods, which has resulted in a record volume of cargo at many ports.
- “Across all goods and services purchased by U.S. consumers, prices have risen by 7 percent over the past year, a considerably faster rate than recent history. Rising consumer prices primarily arise from a surge in the amount of goods consumers want to buy met with businesses struggling to produce and deliver those goods. One result of this dynamic is a dramatic increase in ocean freight costs, which businesses may pass on to consumers through higher prices. Port congestion appears to be a key driver of rising freight costs. Port congestion also may reduce the availability of some goods to retailers, which could increase the prices of some consumer goods.”
NFIB California in the News
- State Director John Kabateck is quoted in the Southern California Record on signed legislation from Gov. Gavin Newsom that extends COVID-related paid leave time off: “It seems absurd that policymakers want to heap yet another massive cost and reporting requirement on already saddled Main Street employers. We already have plenty that are available from bereavement leave to state and federal family leave and much more for use by employers and employees alike.”
Highlights from NFIB Legislative Program Manager Caitlin Lanzara’s weekly report
- Yesterday [Thursday, February 17], the Senate cleared a three-week bill to fund the government, averting a government shutdown. Both the House and Senate are out next week, while negotiations are on-going for Build Back Better-related provisions, we expect a quiet week.
- On February 17th, NFIB submitted a Statement for the Record to lower health care costs for small businesses, in response to the U.S. House Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, & Pensions hearing titled, “Exploring Pathways to Affordable, Universal Health Coverage.”
- On February 17th, NFIB announced the U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case to determine what qualifies under Waters of the United States (WOTUS). This comes after the Biden Administration’s attempt to reinstate controversial water regulations that would expand federal authority over private property wetlands across the country. Learn more here.
- As Tax Day approaches, NFIB released a new tax guide, Out-of-State Sales Tax Requirements, showing the complexity of selling across state lines and navigating the many tax obligations. Learn more here.
Next Main Street Minute February 28.