Pat's Perspective

Friday, May 28, 2021

A Message from Pat

Dear Neighbor,

On Memorial Day, we pay our respects to the members of the U.S. Armed Forces who have died while serving our nation.

While the holiday weekend marks the unofficial start of the summer vacation season, we must never lose sight of what the day actually means. Whether they served in a war as transformative as World War II, or as controversial as Vietnam, we pay tribute to the fallen because they made the ultimate sacrifice. We must never forget that the freedoms we enjoy are not free.

COVID-19 has of course curtailed some of those freedoms for more than a year. The good news is that California is on track to fully reopen on June 15.

As we continue planning for our lives post-pandemic, we are reminded to remain vigilant. For the latest information about COVID-19, visit www.covid19.ca.gov.

However you choose to observe Memorial Day, please do so safely and in respect of the service members who gave everything for our nation.

Sincerely,

Pat

State Budget Update

The Governor released his revised 2021-22 budget proposal on May 14. I support efforts to help the state address threats such as drought, wildfires, and massive unfunded liabilities, but the budget falls woefully short in some areas. The Legislature is required to pass a budget by June 15.

Click here to learn more about my thoughts on the budget.

Click here to view a brief budget summary.

Click here to view the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office perspective on the budget.

Help for Families

California offers various financial assistance programs for those in need during the pandemic. Click here to learn more about existing programs.

Small Business Tax Relief

After a long battle, the Legislature has approved Assembly Bill 80 to give most small businesses hurt by COVID-19 a $6.2 billion tax cut over the next six years to help them recover and re-create the jobs that were lost.

Under the new law, the forgiven Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans that businesses received from the federal government during the pandemic will not be counted as taxable income, and these businesses can also deduct the costs of expenses that those loans paid for.

AB 80 is not as strong as it should have been. I believe the Legislature should have instead approved Senate Bill 265, a bill that I supported that would have provided full tax relief to more small businesses than AB 80.

Nevertheless, AB 80 is a huge improvement over the $150,000 deductibility cap that the Governor and legislative leaders agreed to in February that would have harmed many small businesses. I joined small businesses in sounding the alarm over the cap proposal and our efforts have made a difference.

EDD Update

Many Californians continue to experience inexcusable wait times to have their unemployment insurance claims resolved with the Employment Development Department (EDD).

While the Legislature has increased EDD funding in response to this crisis, it is the Governor and his Administration that manages the EDD. Given that our state is home to Silicon Valley, it is outrageous that the EDD continues to suffer technological issues that should have been resolved years ago. These issues continue to hurt thousands of Californians.

My staff and I continue to help people, but EDD’s technological issues have made it very challenging.

I will continue to advocate for long-term structural changes at the EDD. In a small step for progress, the Senate has approved Senate Bill 58 that I have co-authored to stop the EDD from including full Social Security numbers on its correspondence. This is essential to reduce fraud.

For the latest information on unemployment benefits, visit www.edd.ca.gov.

Quick Updates

Here are some of the other things I have worked on over the past several weeks:

  • Won the Senate’s approval of “Brandon’s Law” (Senate Bill 434 in memory of Brandon Nelson) to help stop the exploitation of vulnerable people seeking addiction treatment. Click here to learn more.
  • Decided to move my bill to address fentanyl-related poisonings to 2022. I will continue to work with Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes, parents who are seeking justice for their children, and others to forge solutions. Click here to learn more.
  • Presented my bill to help middle class families hurt by Proposition 19’s higher taxes. While the bill did not pass, the chair of the Senate Governance and Finance Committee pledged to work with me on a solution. Click here to learn more.
  • Fought for my bill to strengthen Proposition 13, end abuses, and generate new tax revenue without raising taxes. However, a Senate committee chose politics over common sense. Click here to learn more.
  • Congratulated the City of Dana Point on the designation by the World Cetacean Alliance as the Americas’ only certified Whale Heritage site. Assemblymember Laurie Davies (2nd from left) and I (3rd from left) marked this milestone in Dana Point with a legislative resolution. Many thanks to Donna Kalez (left) and Gisele Anderson (right) of the Dana Point Whale Watching Society for leading the Whale Heritage Site application process.