April 29 – Weekly Update
You’ve probably heard: California lost in the most recent Congressional Seats Musical Chairs. It was announced Monday that we’re losing one Congressional seat as our population grew slower than the rest of the country. A different story: San Diego’s population actually grew.
“Madam Speaker, Madam Vice President” has a nice ring to it! For the first time in US history, two women, both Californians, sat behind the president during the joint address. Biden’s address focused on the American Rescue Plan and recovery from the pandemic after one of the most difficult years in modern history. The address signaled a turning point of the pandemic, with all adults in the US eligible for vaccination May 1 and a tentative promise to return to some normalcy for the fourth of July.
$$$ The Small Business Administration announced they will begin registrations tomorrow, April 30 for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. The applications will open at 12 pm EDT and remain open until all funds are exhausted. Register for an account here, and watch the SBDC’s application webinar here.
Are you interested in learning more about government contracting? Our May 5 Defense, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee meeting will be an information seminar with the SBA on small business contracting programs. The meeting is open to members looking to learn more about opportunities through the 8(a), HUBZone, SDVOSB and WOSB programs. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for meeting details.
Congrats to San Diego based company Cue Health, who received $20M in CalCompetes Tax Credits in the latest round!
Interested in starting a testing site at your workplace? Employers can partner with the state to provide testing for their employees. Antigen tests are free and PCR tests are at a cost. Learn more here.
On Tuesday, the CDC updated their recommendations for fully vaccinated people. Fully vaccinated people can participate in outdoor activities and recreation without a mask, except in crowded venues.
The Department of Labor is rolling out a new program to help educate employees on their rights during a time of constantly changing regulations. The Essential Workers, Essential Protections initiative provides information for employees to understand wage and hour laws that apply to them, and specific FAQ’s for COVID related issues.
The IRS is now providing tax credits for employers who provide paid time off for employees to get vaccinated. The credits are available from April 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021.
Are you a first time home buyer? (Related: are you a millionaire?) President Biden is calling on Congress to introduce a $15k tax credit for first time buyers. Some of the response is positive, but there’s another argument being made that increasing demand will only continue to drive up cost- and not address supply. (Also related: CA home prices hit yet another record in March- $758,990. Super cool.)
President Biden will look to make the expanded child tax credit permanent in his new family legislation. In March, Biden increased the credit for kids 0-6 from $2k to $3.6k and to $3k for kids 6 and up.
In this week’s crazy election news, a Mayoral candidate in the Mexican border city of Reynosa promised to use public funds to host a Metallica concert if he wins the election. Who knew Metallica had such a strong fan base in Mexico? No concerts promised in Baja, but MORENA’s governor candidate and Mexicali Mayor Marina del Pilar continues to lead surveys, followed closely by former Tijuana Mayor and businessman Jorge Hank Rhon with the PES political party.
At the federal level, MORENA has a commanding lead in surveys just six weeks before voters elect 500 deputies to sit in the lower house of Congress. Founded by President Lopez Obrador, the party currently holds a slight majority in the Chamber of Deputies on its own, and two-thirds majority with its allies.
With summer around the corner, the head of the European Commission announced that U.S. tourists who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will be able to visit the European Union by mid June. Discussions between the U.S. and the European Union have been going on for several weeks on how vaccine passports or international certificates would work to allow unrestricted travel.
As the U.S. finally sees a light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, India suffers the world’s worst COVID-19 crisis with up to 100 lives lost per hour. The U.S., U.K., European Union, and Mexico have committed to sending supplies including oxygen concentrators.
In Baja, vaccines are now available for education workers including over 687,000 registered teachers across the state. Baja’s Secretary of Education stated that face-to-face classes will not be resumed until the state moves to the green tier. Information on the state’s efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and an update on new cases per municipality is available here.
We are excited to share that the Mexican Ministry of Economy will host WomenExportingMX, an e-business matchmaking event that seeks to strengthen export opportunities for Mexican businesswomen. This event takes place May 11-14, and combines business meetings along with a specialized training program on foreign markets and advantages for both buyers and suppliers in the context of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Free registration is available here and closes on May 9, 2021.
The legislative cycle is in full swing. AB 61, a Chamber supported bill to support businesses post-COVID, passed unanimously out of committee. Similarly (but so different), a bill to increase taxes on high earners (to the tune of about $2.4 billion) made it out of its first committee hearing.
AB 80 is expected to be signed by the governor today. The bill would allow businesses with PPP loan forgiveness to not pay taxes on the loan and deduct qualifying expenses (however there are some exceptions and it requires businesses to have demonstrated a 25% loss of income).
California housing prices rise again, beating the previous record by 6 percent. As of March, the median single family home price is $758,990.
The UC and CSU systems announced last week that they would be requiring (as soon as they get full FDA approval) proof of vaccination for students, faculty and staff that are returning to campus later this year. There was, of course, outrage. But there is also significant interest in how this plays out as many employers and institutions think about the safety of return-to-work plans.
On Tuesday, the CDPH announced they are working to align California’s guidance with the new CDC updates. We are still waiting for CalOSHA to update their guidance on fully vaccinated people and testing requirements.
No need to schedule that DMV appointment just yet. The deadline to get a REAL ID has been pushed back from October 1, 2021 to May 3, 2023 due to the pandemic.
Employers: review your timekeeping practices and make sure your non-exempt employees get a 30 minute meal break. The California Supreme Court has recently ruled that employers are prohibited from rounding time clock punches on employee’s meal periods. According to the ruling, “small rounding errors can amount to a significant infringement on an employee’s right to a 30 minute meal period,” potentially creating a liability risk for employers. Read more here.
The County announced on Tuesday that all of its vaccination sites would be accessible by walk-up and not restrict to appointment-only.
San Diego County will resume using the Johnson and Johnson vaccine after approval from the CDPH and CDC. Last week, the CDC reapproved the vaccine for emergency use.
San Diego home prices increase fastest in nearly 16 years and are second fastest in the nation with home prices up 17 percent in the metropolitan area.
The San Diego City Council unanimously approved an emergency ordinance to expedite communications and internet infrastructure. The Chamber was proud to speak in support.
Businesses have until April 30th to apply for commercial property tax relief. The San Diego County Assessor’s office urges qualified property owners, possessory interest leaseholders and many small business owners to apply.
- San Diego County Board of Supervisors will meet on May 4th & May 5th.
- The City of San Diego will be in budget review committee mode beginning next week. The next City Council hearing will be on May 17 (which will be a special public input hearing on the budget).
- San Diego City Planning Commission will meet on April 29th.
- SANDAG Board of Directors will meet on April 30th.
Capital Opportunities & Resources
- Round SIX of GO-Biz grants is now OPEN. Details here… AND webinars explaining how to apply and how it works here.
- 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 $7,5000. 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.