State Budget Deal Allocates Hundreds of Millions to CA Small Business

Suzanne Potter | California News Service
Julio Ortiz owns Gaspachos restaurant in Sacramento, one of 4.2 million small businesses in California. Small businesses employ 7.3 million people, or just under half of the state's total workforce. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Julio Ortiz

Small business groups are celebrating the new budget deal reached between California state legislators. Next up comes final negotiations with Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The deal includes more than $1 billion to offset the cost of paid sick leave and help cover taxes on unemployment insurance. Carolina Martinez is CEO of CAMEO, the California Association for Microenterprise Opportunities.

“Small businesses still need capital and also technical assistance,” said Martinez. “So, we are happy to see that the governor’s office and also the legislators are committed to continued support for the small businesses.”

The budget must pass by June 15 and be signed into law by July 1. The budget includes $50 million for the California Investment and Innovation Fund, $8 million for Women’s Business Centers, and $500 million for the California Small Business Hard-Hit Industries grant program.

Luis Ramos is director of business advising for Accion Opportunity Fund, a Community Development Financial Institution. He predicts the extra $50 million in funding means CDFIs will be able to shepherd many more budding entrepreneurs.

“We cannot only provide capital to the small businesses,” said Ramos, “but also nurture them in that whole process, just to ensure that that capital is used efficiently and effectively.”

The budget also includes $150 million for COVID-19 small business grants, $75 million for drought-relief grants for small agricultural businesses in the state, and $1 billion to be distributed over four years by the California Energy Commission, as grants to businesses headquartered in California.