For the legislative and political week ahead, May 11-May 15.
Welcome to the May 11 issue of the NFIB California Main Street Minute, a correspondence to NFIB members from their small-business-advocacy team in Sacramento. This inaugural edition will be followed by future reports in the regular newsletter every first and third Thursday of the month. Not an NFIB member? Join right here.
- On Thursday, May 14, an update on the state budget is expected to be announced. California is facing a $54.3 billion deficit. In January, the state had a $21 billion surplus.
- Thursday’s announcement follows last week’s news that California became the first state to ask for the federal government’s help in shoring up its Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund and a few days later, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced an expansion of the workers’ compensation program to include essential workers.
- Small business has three big questions for state policymakers:
- By how much will my unemployment insurance taxes increase?
- By how much will my workers’ compensation premiums increase if legislators broaden the program to include non-essential workers?
- Will I get any legal protection against claims that customers and employees somehow contracted COVID-19 while shopping or working at my enterprise?
- Will the Legislature even get around to addressing these and other pressing issues? Kevin Pedrotti, NFIB California’s chief legislative advocate, reports, “Facing the public health and economic demands of COVID-19, an historically abrupt and massive budget shortfall, and now a limited and compressed schedule to reconvene, the Assembly has cut its bill load to a fraction of its normal size, with fewer than 400 proposals currently in play. Members have been told to focus on the coronavirus, homelessness and wildfires, and to avoid proposals that cost money. We have seen any number of proposals that don’t fit into these neat buckets. Besides facing bill pressure, lawmakers have six weeks left until the state’s June 15 deadline to pass the state budget.” Read Pedrotti’s full report here.
- The media have been hungry for small business’ side for their stories. Among last week’s highlights were NFIB California State Director John Kabateck answering two questions for two stories put to him by the Los Angeles Times about Governor Newsom’s rules for business re-openings and about the governor’s executive order expanding workers’ compensation. Kabateck also provided comment to NPR’s Marketplace on the first round of Paycheck Protection Program loans, and a day earlier, Luke Wake, staff attorney for NFIB’s Small Business Legal Center, discussed the forgivable part of PPP loans with Marketplace. A one-location sampling of NFIB’s media hits this year and last can be read here.
- NFIB joined with 19 other business groups in co-signing a joint letter to Alastair Mactaggart asking him to withdraw his proposed ballot initiative greatly expanding California’s new data privacy law, which has yet to have its final rules formalized by the attorney general.
- Last Wednesday, the NFIB FedPAC endorsed Mike Garcia for Congress in California’s open 25th Congressional District. The special election is tomorrow, May 12
- NFIB produced its Liability Protection Principles for America’s small businesses and sent it to Congress and the media nationwide.
- This Wednesday, May 13, NFIB will hold one of its highly popular informational webinars. This week’s is titled, Small Business and COVID-19, Your Questions Answered Live. You can register here. In case you missed last week’s, Getting Back to Business – COVID-19 Financial and Workplace Safety Updates, click here.
- Tomorrow, May 12, NFIB releases its latest monthly Small Business Economic Trends report, also called the Optimism Index. The SBET is one of the more watched-for economic barometers in the business and political worlds. Click here for a one-page history of the 47-year-old report.
Next California Main Street Minute, May 21. For NFIB members, it will be included in their regular biweekly newsletter.