Central Valley state senator working on small business aid

Local News

FRESNO, California (KGPE) – With new COVID-19 spending just announced by Gov. Gavin Newsom, much-needed funds could be coming to California small businesses.

The Keep California Working Act, a bipartisan bill co-written by Central Valley State Senator Andreas Borgeas, will now be included in the state’s next COVID-19 relief package as an early action budget item. According to Borgeas, it will speed up relief getting to businesses – as opposed to the bill going through the normal legislative process.

The bill, now an early action budget item as of Wednesday due to broad bipartisan support, could bring $2.6 billion in one-time grants to small businesses and nonprofits who need it the most.

“This is a huge win for all of California because we can expect this to be expedited,” said Sen. Andreas Borgeas, a republican who represents District 8 which comprises vast areas of the Central Valley, “We’re going to vote on this likely next week.”

In order to qualify for one of the grants, a business or nonprofit must not exceed $5 million a year in revenue and have less than 100 employees. Chuck Van Fleet who owns Vino Grille in Fresno says the grant will bring much-needed help.

“Getting new employees back, getting all kinds of setups for the business, paying down some bills we may have acquired,” Van Fleet said.

Van Fleet says he took advantage of the federal Paycheck Protection Program months ago, but those were federal loans. He says a one-time grant will be less complicated.

“The government keeps changing their minds on what is forgiven and what is not, so a grant would actually help.”

Borgeas says there isn’t a concrete date yet on when applications will open up for grants, but he assures constituents the process is moving quickly.

“We believe the most important event is getting the money appropriated by the legislature so that folks can then take advantage of this opportunity.”

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