Senator Patricia Bates Co-Authors "Keep California Working Act" to Save Jobs and Small Businesses

Friday, December 11, 2020

Senator Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) announced that she has co-authored the bipartisan “Keep California Working Act” that would provide $2.6 billion to help small businesses affected by COVID-19.

“As we await the distribution of a vaccine and more aid from the federal government, the Legislature must do more to help save local jobs and small businesses,” said Senator Bates, a former small business owner. “We must help struggling workers and businesses in a way that is fiscally responsible. The Keep California Working Act does both and would be another essential lifeline for our economy. I look forward to working with Senator Andreas Borgeas and our colleagues to help get this measure enacted as soon as possible.”

Formally introduced by Senator Andreas Borgeas (R-Fresno), the Keep California Working Act (Senate Bill 74) would invest $2.6 billion (10% of California’s projected budget surplus) in grants to help small businesses that have sustained financial losses during COVID-19. The bill includes an urgency clause so that it can take effect immediately upon approval.

Many small businesses are struggling to survive and recent data indicates that close to one third of small businesses will not survive beyond January 2021 without additional funding.

SB 74 would be in addition to Governor Newsom’s November 30 announcement to provide $500 million in assistance for small businesses, many of whom have been devastated by stay-at-home orders and arbitrary guidelines.

The Governor’s latest order allows retail establishments to operate at 20% customer capacity, but 20% has a much different effect on small family businesses than on “big-box” corporate retailers. Removing 80% of a small retailer’s customer capacity is tantamount to shutting most of them down.

Furthermore, California employers have worked hard since March to protect the health of their employees and customers through the investment of plastic barriers, outdoor tents, and other infrastructure designed to limit the spread of COVID-19. The Governor’s latest order ignores those investments.

SB 74 would lessen some of the economic pain faced by small businesses and help save jobs.