Legislative Update – April 22 - SD Regional Chamber

Legislative Update – April 22

Our Time to Vaccinate campaign just got a really great bump from President Biden (okay, maybe we are stretching a little bit here), but on Wednesday the President announced that employers with less than 500 employees can get a tax credit of $500/per day/employee for giving their staff paid time off to vaccinate.

Happy Earth Day! Today, 40 leaders around the world are meeting at a White House summit to discuss international climate action goals. As the world is far from meeting initial targets from the Paris Climate Agreement, the pressure is on for nations to embrace bold climate action plans. In the meantime, check your green lifestyle knowledge with this National Geographic quiz.

Business News

Last week, the SBA released eligibility information on the Restaurant Revitalization Fund and is holding an informational webinar Thursday, April 29. Register here, or request one-on-one assistance with the program application here.

Are you interested in personalized support from the county’s business sector support team? Fill out the interest form here.

SeaWorld and our aquatic friends are now welcoming out-of-state visitors (if vaccinated). You’re running out of reasons not to see that weird cousin you’ve been avoiding, but this is otherwise excellent news!

Cox Communications has partnered with Mayor Todd Gloria for Access 4 All, an effort to provide free internet access across the City at 300 locations. Learn more and check out the list of locations here.

On Monday, the first aircraft outside of Earth flew on Mars. The Ingenuity helicopter was controlled by a Qualcomm smartphone chip and spent 39.1 seconds of flight on Mars. The historic moment proves that controlled flight on a different planet is possible.

Bank of America is hosting an “Access to Capital for Hispanic-Latino Business Owners” webinar on April 28th. Don’t miss  an opportunity to raise more funds for your business!

Our very own answer to Tesla, TuSimple just snagged $8.5B valuation at IPO this past week, leading us to believe that autonomous vehicles are still en route.

Leafly’s annual jobs report found that the US cannabis industry supports 321,00 FTE jobs in 2021 and grew 32% in 2020. San Diego based High Bluff Group has partnered with Green Leaf Business Solutions to provide recruitment services for cannabis businesses that need high volume hiring.

Legislative Update


Federal:
 

More SALT please: Representative Mike Levin is leading the charge for Californians in Congress to repeal a $10,000 cap on SALT deductions that passed as part of the 2017 tax reform.

Twenty-four month projections from the US Bureau of Reclamation forecast historic water shortages, which may prompt the first ever official shortage declaration.

On Tuesday, the jury found Derek Chauvin guilty of all three charges. Leaders around the country, including San Diego Mayor Gloria and corporate leadership, published statements on the verdict through social media and letters to employees. After the verdict, President Biden called the family of George Floyd to promise federal police reform through the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. The bill passed the House, but due to proposed elimination of qualified immunity, is unlikely to pass the Senate. Philonise Floyd, brother of George Floyd, published an op-ed in the Washington Post available here.

Today, the Biden administration announced their new emissions target under the Paris Climate Agreement. Biden will make a formal submission to the United Nations to reduce emissions by 52% by 2030 compared with 2005 levels, almost doubling Obama’s Paris climate accord commitment in 2015. Adjusting the target depends on a range of factors, including the costs of renewable energy and investment from state and local governments.

President Biden is also preparing to unveil one of the ways he plans on paying for his proposals. Reports indicate he is considering raising the capital gains tax to 39.6% for households making over $1M/annually

International:

Are you a football fan? Widely known as soccer in the U.S., the sport is making headlines worldwide after European teams announced they had formed a breakaway club competition. The European Super League – which included Real Madrid, Manchester United, and Juventus- featured 15 founding teams and 5 annual qualifiers. Angry fans argued that the new system would guarantee places to founding members and essentially destroy competition. UEFA and FIFA threatened that players in the Super League would be banned from playing in the WorldCup. After only 48 hours, the initiative completely collapsed. RIP, Super League.

Over the last two weeks, Bhutan vaccinated 95% of its eligible population by gathering enough doses first and training thousands of volunteers to get the job done. In Israel, the use of face masks in a public setting is no longer required and in-person learning is now allowed as the country closes in on total immunization of its adult population. Australians and New Zealanders are also now free to travel from one country to the other, as the world’s first “travel bubble” is established between the two countries.

Chamber member UC San Diego Health, in partnership with San Diego County and our friends at the Otay Mesa Chamber, finalized the first round of its third Vaccination Clinic in Otay Mesa. These efforts have benefited nearly 6,000 members of our cross-border workforce so far, including truck drivers who have been essential players in distributing goods in our region throughout the pandemic. Keep up the good work Otay Mesa!

Speaking of vaccines, did you know that India produces 60% of the world’s vaccine supply? Did you also know that due to India being hit by another COVID wave, they are only able to make half of what their country needs to keep up. This is an important story about supply chains and when to declare herd immunity.

Temporary restrictions on non-essential travel across shared ports of entry between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico were extended for an additional thirty days to May 21. Mexico’s Secretariat of Foreign Affairs also announced restrictions on non-essential crossings at its northern and southern borders were extended to May 21 as well, however, our regional land ports of entry have not been impacted. Just a couple of weeks ago, the Chamber joined the Border Trade Alliance and U.S. business leaders in urging the federal government to lift travel restrictions on non-essential travel at our land port of entry. As we continue to move toward economic recovery, please take a few minutes to share your input on the financial implications of cross-border trade processing at land ports of entry for the business sector.

In election news, Baja’s governor candidates participated in their first debate last Sunday. During the first segment, the seven candidates shared their thoughts on the state’s economic challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and their plans to reactivate the economy.

As part of its efforts to reactivate the economy, Baja’s government officials unveiled a new branding campaign featuring a homage to the region’s beautiful topography and outdoor experiences. If you’re feeling claustrophobic, take a minute to check out The Road Awaits, a short video produced by Tijuana’s award-winning production house Specola, and daydream about your next road trip south of the border.

The U.S. Department of Commerce will hold its eight Trade Mission in the California Global Connect series next month, May 3-6. Attendees will virtually meet with Mexican Electronics and Aerospace prime contractors in Tijuana and Mexicali to discuss their plans, priorities and upcoming projects. Space is limited to 20 California companies and participation is free for small businesses that qualify for California STEP. Register here by Monday, April 23 at 5:00 PM.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will host a public meeting on May 24 at 1:00p.m. to provide an update on the evaluation of infrastructure projects to support a comprehensive solution to transboundary pollution issues in our region, in accordance with the new trilateral agreement (USMCA). This follows a public scoping meeting held on Tuesday as part of the agency’s work on an environmental impact statement for the 10 projects being considered for implementation in order to reduce transboundary pollution.

State:

If you disregard, for a moment, that the state is absolutely rolling in unexpected surplus money plus federal American Rescue Plan dollars, you might want to consider the newest efforts at a “wealth tax” in the legislature. AB 310, elegantly referred to as the “California Tax on Extreme Wealth”, continues to hike tax bills on the uber wealthy. If passed, it would generate over $22 billion a year. The bill represents the fault lines in the legislature though, with moderate Dems already saying such an extreme bill is a no-go. However, Governor Newsom has already come out saying he wouldn’t support the more moderate but still frightening AB 71.

Yesterday, Governor Newsom announced a drought emergency in the Russian River area in northern California. Newsom will not be implementing a statewide drought emergency, but administration officials say it could be a possibility in 2022 if the state faces another dry winter.

The Governor has also signed a letter with 11 other Governors asking the President to join them in calling for an end to gas- powered vehicle sales by 2035. (Related: suggestions to invest in electric vehicle batteries).

Last week, Governor Newsom signed SB 93, which requires employers in hospitality and business services to offer new positions to former employees laid off due to COVID-19 within 5 business days.

The state’s Housing and Community Development Department has just launched a database showing the annual progress jurisdictions are making on housing goals. Spoiler alert: it’s not really good news.

California unemployment rate decreases to 8.3% in March, a 0.2 percentage point decrease from February. Currently, California has recovered almost 44% of nonfarm jobs lost due to the pandemic over the past year.

In more 4/20 news, marijuana advocates’ Weed for Warriors and the California Cannabis Reform Project, are in the early stages of proposing a statewide ballot initiative that would limit local control and expand access for cannabis consumers.

 

Local:

The Port of San Diego is holding a virtual Community Workshop on May 6 to the public to receive input on  the National City Marina District Balanced Land Use Plan and future expansion of Pepper Park. To register for the Community Workshop and sign up for email updates about the National City Bayfront, click here.

Big surprise: SDGE was the only offer for the second round of bids for the city’s gas and electric franchise agreement. SDGE offered $70 million for electric services and $10 million for gas services, which has been criticized by several councilmembers.

San Diego’s COVID response and recovery committee recently released their work plan, which focuses primarily on economic recovery, vaccine equity and preparation for future pandemics. The committee will also address longer term equity concerns in the city, including addressing the digital divide, homelessness and small business issues. A priority among committee members is creating “silver linings” changes, such as expanded outdoor dining for restaurants and continuing online participation in City Council meetings.

The County of San Diego is seeking community input on how best to develop and implement a Cannabis Social Equity program on April 23 and 26. Details here.

A new study from Rent.com ranks San Diego as the fifth best foodie city in America. Rankings were determined by the highest concentration of ethnic cuisines among every US city with over 50,000 residents. Who beat us? New York City, Chicago, LA and San Francisco.

SDUSD Chief Cindy Marten is going places. Specifically, to the Senate for a final hearing for her confirmation as the #2 at the Department of Education since she’s been advanced out of the first committee.

Speaking of going places, the Grand Central Station environmental review process has been initiated, marking an important step in the ongoing effort to connect our transit system to the airport and inspire the kind of mode-shift supporters say is needed to achieve our Climate Action Plan goals.

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher has announced he will be bringing a potential hazard pay ordinance for county workers as well as an Office of Labor Standards and Enforcement to the Board on May 4th.

Upcoming Hearings

  • SANDAG Board of Directors will meet on April 23.
  • San Diego City Council will meet on April 26 and April 27.
  • San Diego City Planning Commission will meet on April 29.

Capital Opportunities & Resources

  • Round SIX of GO-Biz grants opens April 28th. Details here… AND webinars explaining how to apply and how it works here. Round FIVE notifications began April 5th.
  • The CARES Act Revolving Loan Fund provides assistance for eligible expenses to businesses in the City of San Diego and City of Chula Vista impacted by the pandemic.
  • The San Diego Housing Commission, along with the assistance of many Community Based Organizations, is administering the City of San Diego’s 2021 COVID-19 Housing Stability Assistance Program and applications are still open. Learn more and help spread the word here.  
  • Apply for your first or second PPP Loan now! Learn more here.
  • City of Oceanside COVID-19 small business grant program: Small businesses able to demonstrate a loss in profit caused by the COVID crisis can qualify for a grant of $1,000 to $7,500. Learn more and apply here.
  • The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) is accepting applications for a small business hiring credit against California state income taxes or sales and use taxes. The credit (authorized by SB 1447) is available to certain California qualified small business employers that receive a tentative credit reservation. Learn more here.
  • The California Rebuilding Fund is offering small businesses with fewer than 50 full-time equivalent employees loans up to $100,000. Learn more and apply here.
  • The County’s Small Business Stimulus Grant Program is accepting additional applications. Eligible businesses must have fewer than 100 full-time employees and are following sectors (restaurant, gym fitness center, yoga studio, movie theater, museum, zoo, or aquarium) that were impacted by moving from the Red to Purple Tier OR part of the event industry. Learn more and apply here.
  • City of San Diego Temporary Outdoor Business Operations Permit – Businesses (restaurants, retail stores, gyms, hair salons, nail salons) can now expand into the public right-of-way, parking lots, and public spaces. Information on how to apply for a Temporary Outdoor Business Operations Permit can be found here.
  • Businesses can reach out to their nearest Small Business Development Center (SBDC), which has developed the Small Business Survival Resources Guide to help business owners navigate through the chaos COVID-19 is having on our communities. SBDC can help with applying for relief, guiding you through available resources, and assisting with cash flow concerns, supply-chain interruptions, workforce capacity, insurance coverage, and more–all at no cost.
  • The State Treasurer’s Office has published this list of Federal, State, Local, Private, and Non-profit resources available to small businesses.
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