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Governor Newsom Signs $6.2 Billion Tax Break For Businesses In San Fernando

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Governor Gavin Newsom (1)

Governor Gavin Newsom visited a sushi restaurant in San Fernando Thursday to sign a $6.2 billion tax break for businesses that have received a pandemic loan.

Newsom approved Assembly Bill 80 which aims to help businesses by not requiring businesses to pay state tax on Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans.

“This state is poised for a major comeback,” Newsom said. “We’re experiencing that comeback because of the small business leaders that persevered.”

The governor was joined by Senate Majority Leader Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, as well as Valley native and “Machete” actor Danny Trejo at Hanzo Sushi to honor the signing of the legislation.

“Here in our own San Fernando Valley and across the state, small business is, in many ways, the soul of this state,” Hertzberg said. “It represents the hopes and dreams and sweat and toil that forms the foundation of our California Dream”

California businesses received over $97 billion from over 1 million loans, according to PPP data.

Some of these loans can be forgiven by the federal government if the businesses meet certain requirements, according to the Small Business Association. 

Under AB 80, businesses whose loans are forgiven are not required to pay taxes on that money as long as they can show a 25% reduction in profits for at least one quarter as a result of the pandemic. 

“Help is on the way in the form of a $6.2 billion tax cut, which will provide support, not to large publicly traded companies, but to the mom-and-pop businesses — the beauty salons, restaurants and dental offices — which have been resilient during this difficult time,” Newsom said. “This small business tax relief is exactly what is needed to keep businesses open so they can continue paying their employees.”

Newsom added the tax breaks are just a part of a larger effort by the state to respond to the economic fallout from the pandemic. 

In February, lawmakers reached a deal to approve the “Golden State Stimulus,” which provides over 5 million low-income Californians with $600 checks. The state also approved $2.5 billion in grants for small businesses.

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Revisitation Of Cannabis Ban In Unincorporated L.A. County Considered By Supervisors

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Cannabis Marijuana Weed

A revisitation of the current ban on commercial cannabis production and distribution in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County is being considered by the Board of Supervisors. 

The board voted unanimously on Tuesday to support a motion authored by Supervisor Janice Hahn and co-authored by Supervisor Hilda Solis that directs the Office of Cannabis Management to revisit the regulations.

Shortly after the passage of Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, the supervisors enacted a ban on the commercial production and distribution of cannabis in unincorporated areas of the county. 

The ban was intended to be temporary until the County could develop and establish proper regulations, according to Hahn.

The board established the Office of Cannabis Management which convened a Working Group on Cannabis Regulation to develop recommendations for the board to consider. After conducting extensive community outreach and eight public convenings, the Working Group presented a report to the Board of Supervisors with 64 recommendations.

However, in June 2018, the Board of Supervisors chose to accept the report but not take any action to remove the cannabis ban. 

At the time, Hahn said the intention was not to rush the issue and felt there were “too many unanswered questions and uncertainties.”

In the three years since then, much has changed and evolved in the area of cannabis legalization. Multiple additional states have legalized recreational cannabis and the county’s two largest cities, Los Angeles and Long Beach are now allowing commercial cannabis.

“It has been three long years since we decided to keep the cannabis ban in place in the unincorporated area and a lot has changed,” said Hahn in a statement. “We’ve seen how legalization has played out in cities in our own county and we have seen states across the country move in the direction of legalizing, taxing, and regulating cannabis. It may be time for us to join them.”

The illegal production of cannabis has proliferated in unincorporated areas of L.A. County, including the Antelope Valley. 

Last month, over $1 billion of marijuana was seized in large-scale operations, some of which are connected to drug cartels, according to Sheriff Alex Villanueva. 

County officials hope to curb the growth of illegal activity in unincorporated areas by possibly lifting the current ban on legal production. 

The Office of Cannabis Management is set to report back to the board with updated recommendations for cannabis retail, manufacturing, distribution, growth, testing, regulation, and enforcement in Los Angeles County in 120 days.

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L.A. City Council Approves Plan To Divert $56.6 Million From LAPD

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Crime LAPD Slider

The Los Angeles City Council approved a plan Tuesday to divert $56.6 million from the police department’s budget, investing the funds in community programs and alternatives to policing. 

Last year following the death of George Floyd and the movement to defund police, the City Council announced a plan to divert a total of $150 million from the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). 

The funding is now expected to go toward anti-gang initiatives, homeless services, universal income programs, jobs initiatives and education.

Earlier this year, the City Council approved $32.2 million of the diverted funds. Mayor Eric Garcetti initially vetoed the proposal, however, later signed off on a revised plan the council approved.

Funds from both of the approved diversion plans are expected to be distributed equally across all districts of Los Angeles. 

City Council President Nury Martinez, who represents the east San Fernando Valley, has heard mixed support of the plan from the community.

Some communities “do want additional police officers. They feel safer that way,” Martinez said. “Some other communities don’t.”

In addition to the community programs, the plan allocated funds for “reimagined public safety” programs citywide, grant programs and quality of life services, according to the City report. 

The mayor still needs to sign off on the plan approved by the City Council.

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Los Angeles County Approves $1,000 Guaranteed Basic Income Pilot Program

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The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a motion Tuesday to develop a guaranteed basic income (GBI) pilot program.

The motion, co-authored by Supervisors Holly Mitchell and Sheila Kuehl, was passed by a 4-1 vote, with Supervisor Kathryn Barger opposing. 

Barger cited concerns that the pilot program was not fully researched and vetted to be implemented in a large county. 

Within 30 days, the county CEO is expected to establish the pilot program to serve at least 1,000 county residents for three years, according to the agenda.

A target population is set to receive, at a minimum, monthly income support of $1,000. Those in the pilot population are expected to include women living at or below the poverty level who were released from incarceration in the last seven years, transition-age youth head of households and domestic violence survivors.

On Monday, supervisors also passed a similar motion authored by Chair Hilda Solis aimed at creating a roadmap to implement the program.

“As the county transitions out of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will need to support the recovery of our residents coping with the disproportionate financial impact brought on by this past year to help rebuild our communities,” Solis said in a statement. “A well-crafted GBI program spearheaded by (Department of Public Social Services) has the potential to assist vulnerable populations to meet basic needs and be placed on a path to economic mobility.”

Governor Gavin Newsom’s May Revision Budget includes $35 million over five years to pay for universal basic income pilot programs. These pilot programs would be locally administered, require a local-match commitment, and target low-income residents, according to Solis.

The passage of the motion instructs the county’s Department of Public Social Services (DPSS), and in consultation with other departments as appropriate, to report back in 60 days on the process for implementing GBI, coordination with the state’s universal basic income program, what it takes to fund this program, any funding considerations, approvals needed, any required waivers, wrap-around services to enhance program outcomes including financial coaching and the populations that could be served.

To read the full motion by Mitchell and Kuehl, visit here. Solis’ motion can be found here

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