Borgeas: More Robust Economic Relief Needed in Governor's Budget

Small Businesses and Nonprofits Deserve Greater Investment

SACRAMENTO – Senator Andreas Borgeas (R-Fresno) issued the following statement in response to the Governor’s initial Fiscal Year 2021-22 Budget rollout:

“The economic recovery package proposed by the Governor, especially the nearly $1 billion in small business grants, are a step in the right direction. However, it would send a stronger message if small businesses were prioritized over the $1.5 billion investment in electric cars in the midst of economic devastation,” said Senator Borgeas.

“California’s small businesses have sustained heavy losses during the COVID-19 pandemic, and a more robust capital investment is needed in the Governor’s budget to keep our economy going,” added Borgeas. “That is why 43 legislators in the Senate and Assembly (over one-third of the Legislature) are supporting the bipartisan Keep California Working Act, which would invest $2.6 billion in grants for small businesses and nonprofits. I look forward to working with the Governor and Legislative leadership to get this much-needed relief through the Legislature in a thoughtful yet expedited fashion.”

The Keep California Working Act, also known as Senate Bill 74, is joint-authored by Senator Andreas Borgeas and Senator Anna Caballero (D-Salinas), and has Principal Co-authorship from Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach). SB 74 has not only garnered significant media attention ahead of the Governor’s budget announcement, but has attracted the support of economic development leaders throughout California recognizing the need for immediate small business investment.

Some of the economic development leaders behind the bill include the California Restaurant Association (CRA), United Chamber Advocacy Network (UCAN), California Building Industry Association (CBIA), National Federation Independent Businesses (NFIB), California Association of Nonprofits (CalNonprofits), and many others.

Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) Recommends More

While SB 74 proposes $2.6 billion in economic relief, a report published by the LAO titled The 2021-22 Budget: California’s Fiscal Outlook recommends that “…the Legislature use the other half the windfall – about $13 billion – on one-time purposes, focusing on activities that mitigate the adverse economic and health consequences of the public health emergency.”

Borgeas Responds to Items in Governor’s Budget

Safe Reopening of Schools

“As a father of two elementary school children, I cannot stress enough the importance of returning to safe in-person instruction. I appreciate the Governor’s record $85 billion investment in California’s schools, with $2 billion dedicated to prioritizing safe in-person instruction and $4.6 billion dedicated to extended instructional time. This will make up for lost time in K-12 schools in 2020. Additionally, the nearly $500 million investment in teacher preparation and $1.5 billion in special education are positive steps in setting up California’s next generation of leaders.”

COVID-19, Healthcare, and Frontline Workers

“California’s healthcare workers have risen to meet incredible challenges throughout the duration of the pandemic. The Governor’s $4.4 billion emergency response investment in testing, contact tracing and vaccines is a positive step in getting California’s economy back on track and a return to normalcy.”

Agriculture

“As Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, I appreciate the Governor’s standalone investment in California’s agricultural sector by allocating $384.6 million to support farmers and growers with technical assistance and regulatory changes. At the same time, California leaders must reevaluate the timing of certain regulatory programs funded in the budget and ensure they are not impediments to our agricultural sector, as many farmers are struggling due to the pandemic. California leaders must also consider investing in water infrastructure and conveyance in order to deliver clean water to our state’s farms and communities. Lastly, the $50 million in one-time support in the 2021-22 Budget for California’s fairs is crucial due to pandemic challenges.”

Wildfire Resiliency and Emergency Response

“The 2020 wildfire season wreaked havoc on California’s forests and communities, specifically the Creek Fire in Fresno and Madera Counties that caused massive devastation. I appreciate the Governor’s $143.3 million investment in adding more fire crews, and $48 million in air support. In addition, California needs to maintain its focus on forest management efforts and consider enacting California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) streamlining for municipalities seeking to create defensible spaces in order to protect California’s most vulnerable communities. The $847 million investment in forest resiliency and fuel break creation is a good step, but these investments must be maintained in future budgets.”

Tenant and Landlord Relief

“While I appreciate the investment in relief for California’s most vulnerable tenants, California leaders should pursue a balanced approach and must provide relief for housing providers and small landlords.”