Backed by half of Calif. legislature, Borgeas’ business relief plan picks up statewide support

The push to deliver $2 billion in grants to hard-hit California businesses is gaining steam.

A bevy of statewide associations and advocacy groups have signed on in support of the Keep California Working Act (Senate Bill 74), which is already backed by over half of the California state legislature. 

If passed, the bill will provide $2.6 billion of California’s unanticipated revenue in one-time grants for small businesses and nonprofits that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 


State Sens. Andreas Borgeas (R–Fresno) and Anna Caballero (D–Salinas) introduced the bill to the legislature last December, and since then they have picked up wide-ranging bipartisan across the legislature. In total, 36 Democrats and 27 Republicans have co-sponsored the bill, totaling 63 out of the 120 Assemblymembers and Senators. 

“California’s small businesses and nonprofits cannot wait any longer for relief,” Borgeas said in a statement. “The fast-growing, bipartisan coalition for the Keep California Working Act demonstrates the immediacy of this need throughout the entire state. If small businesses are suffering because they are following COVID-19 protocols, then it is imperative that California provide relief to those that are struggling.” 

Borgeas’ office announced Tuesday that over 80 chambers of commerce, cities, counties and associations throughout the state have announced their support of the bill. 

Those associations include the California Chamber of Commerce, the California Association of Nonprofits, the California Building Industry Association, the California Restaurant Association, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, and the California Farm Bureau.  

Several Central Valley entities have backed the bill too: Fresno County, Kern County, Madera County, Stanislaus County, the City of Clovis, the Fresno Chamber of Commerce and the Tulare Chamber of Commerce. 

As currently written, SB 74 will award grants to employers ranging from $5,000 to $60,000, although the bill still has to go through the legislative process. The bill is currently in the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee. 

The Legislative Analyst’s Office published a report recommending the legislature use about $13 billion of the state’s $26 billion in unanticipated revenue for “one-time purposes, focusing on activities that mitigate the adverse economic and health consequences of the public health emergency.” 

In other words, the Keep California Working Act could provide a much greater financial windfall than initially anticipated if the legislatures follow the advice of the Analyst’s Office. 

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