Grant program aimed at helping California small businesses, non-profits gaining momentum

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A proposed grant program aimed at helping small businesses and non-profits hit hard by the pandemic is gaining significant momentum in the State Legislature.

The Keep California Working Act -- also known as Senate Bill 74 -- is a bipartisan relief package that would provide $2.6 billion in grants.

More than one-third of the entire legislature is now supporting the measure recently spearheaded by Senators Andreas Borgeas of Fresno, and Anna Cabellero.

"Thousands of our local small businesses have already closed their doors forever and hundreds of thousands more are teetering on the brink right now," said Assemblymember Cottie-Petrie-Norris of Laguna Beach.

The bill would award grants to small businesses and non-profit organizations that have experienced economic hardship as a result of restrictions brought on by COVID-19.

"One of the reasons why SB 74 is so important it is that it's designed to be equably distributed across the state, and part of that equity is making certain that dollars go to areas that have been hit hardest," said State Senator Borgeas.

SB 74 would invest $2.6 billion or 10% of the state's projected surplus and would include an urgency clause so it could take effect immediately upon approval.

"If California makes a capital investment into its small businesses, we can certainly expect this would be a helpful part our recovery process," Borgeas said.

State leaders say they hope to modify the bill on January 11 and have it signed by the governor soon after -- with money getting in the hands of business owners within a matter of months.

"SB 74 will keep California working and help us build back our communities and enable us to set California on a path to recovery," said Petrie-Norris.

Those with less than 100 employees would be eligible for grant money under the proposed SB 74.
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