Written by Gordon Webster, Jr.
The announcement today that California is looking to end its Covid-19 business restrictions come June 15 is certainly welcome.
It will give business owners some certainty — probably the first they have seen in a year packed with uncertainty.
As we appear to be turning the corner on Covid-19, there are other measures elected officials must take to attract and retain businesses to the Golden State. Many of them were outlined in a recent letter from the California Chamber of Commerce and nearly 200 allied business organizations to the governor and Legislature.
These are “specific and immediate actions to curb the impact of the current pandemic-related economic crisis as well as address the underlying causes of an ongoing exodus of employers to other states,” according to the CalChamber’s “Alert” newsletter.
As far as Executive Action, Gov. Newsom should:
- Suspend compliance with the California Family Rights Act for small businesses
- End enforcement of structurally infeasible components of emergency Covid-19 workplace regulations, especially those dealing with mandatory testing requirements and payment of wages for employees excluded from the workplace due to Covid (and are already covered under Workers’ Compensation and other provisions)
- Temporarily delay the next installment of property taxes due this month.
For joint Executive/Legislative action:
- Expedite additional financial resources to small businesses by expanding the eligibility pool and increasing the maximum amount of grants provided
- Give immediate financial reimbursement or quarterly tax relief for employers investing in state-mandated upgrades
- Allow employers to utilize net operating loss carry forwards and business tax credits suspended last year
For the Legislature, pass bills that will:
- Eliminate disincentives for telecommuting
- Relieve employers of abusive lawsuits under the Private Attorneys General Act
- Delay enforcement of new or updated regulations
- Pay down the Unemployment Insurance Fund
- Reject new taxes
- Eliminate barriers to housing by reforming the California Environmental Quality Act
While opening up businesses is a great start, these are the sorts of reforms that will truly put California on the path to being a more business friendly state.