This week, it was announced that the principles and proposals outlined in Senate Bill 49 (SB 49), by Senator Thomas J. Umberg (D – Orange County), will be included in Governor Gavin Newsom’s 2020-21 Budget Proposal to be released later this week.
The Budget proposes $70.6 million for fee waivers to individuals and businesses most impacted by the pandemic – including barbers, cosmetologists, manicurists, bars and restaurants. These waivers will assist those who have not been able to operate or are operating at reduced capacity during the pandemic.
“This announcement from Governor Newsom represents not only good policymaking, by providing support to businesses who need it, but also a return of fairness in law. Businesses that are unable to operate cannot, and should not, be expected to pay mandated operating fees, especially when they are unable to benefit from their services during closure” said Senator Umberg. “I will continue to work with businesses and stakeholders on creating solutions to this problem, and ensuring that this basic unfairness around business operating fees is addressed.”
He said SB 49 would provide relief to businesses heavily impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and subsequent Stay at Home Orders. Businesses who have been forced to operate at a diminished capacity, or oftentimes shut down entirely, have compounded their sacrifices by also continuing to dutifully pay their state and local mandated operating fees.
This proposed legislation and the accompanying appropriation in the state budget would alleviate these state and local fee obligations to heavily impacted businesses.
“Annual local and state fees that restaurants pay are in the thousands – some larger restaurants pay tens of thousands per year to local and state agencies,” said California Restaurant Association Senior Vice President, Matt Sutton. “These dollars today could help a restaurant hang on to some of its employees or pay the rent, but there’s also the principle of the matter – it’s just wrong for government agencies to full charge for services that are going largely unused today, and we appreciate Senator Umberg’s work to help small businesses who are struggling in unprecedented ways.”
Senator Umberg introduced SB 49 on Monday December 7, 2020, the first day of the 2021-22 Legislative Session.