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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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Politics

Recall Of Governor Gavin Newsom Reaches Required Number Of Signatures

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Governor Gavin Newsom (1)

The recall of Governor Gavin Newsom has met the required number of signatures on Monday becoming closer to being on the ballot.

California Secretary of State Dr. Shirley N. Weber has announced that the threshold of verified signatures reported by counties across the state has been met, triggering the next phase of the recall process.

A 30-business-day period in which voters may submit written requests to county Registrars of Voters to remove their names from the recall petition has now started, according to Weber’s office.

The valid signatures in the 10th report are 1,626,042, which exceeds the total of 1,495,709 signatures required. Counties still have until April 29 to verify the validity of any remaining signatures, according to the Secretary of State’s office. 

Any voter who has signed the recall petition may provide a written request to their county elections official to have their signature removed from the petition between April 26 and June 8, according to the election code.

If after this period the recall election still has a sufficient number of signatures, the Department of Finance will have 30 business days to estimate the cost of the recall election, according to the Secretary of State’s office. 

Following that, the Joint Legislative Budget Committee will have 30 calendar days to review and comment on those estimates before the lieutenant governor sets the date for the recall election.

The recall election must be held between 60 and 80 days from the date the Secretary of State certifies that it has qualified.

Additional information about the recall process, including calendar information, may be found here.

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L.A. County Supervisors Vote To Support Earlier Re-Opening Of Theme Parks

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Six Flags Magic Mountain
Photo Courtesy of Six Flags

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted Tuesday to support a bill to re-open theme parks sooner. 

Supervisor Kathryn Barger motioned to support Assembly Bill (AB) 420 authored by Assemblymembers Sharon Quirk-Silva, D-Fullerton, and Suzette Martinez Valladares, R-Santa Clarita. 

The bill would amend the state’s industry guidance to allow amusement and theme parks to open once a region is in the moderate or orange risk tier rather than the lower minimal or yellow tier.

Barger sent a letter of support to the bill’s sponsors earlier this month.

“With full outdoor operations and the ability to maintain physical distancing, theme parks across the country have proven that they can safely reopen,” Barger wrote. “Large theme parks nationwide began reopening last summer and there (have) not yet been any outbreaks or spread from these establishments.”

Barger said that densely populated counties such as Los Angeles would have a very difficult time meeting the minimal risk tier criteria of less than one daily case of COVID per 100,000 residents and a test positivity rate of less than 2%, which she said was unwarranted.

“Six Flags Magic Mountain in my district has been closed for nearly a year, while parks in other states have been open to the public and serving them safely. By opening our theme parks, we will trigger a ripple effect to our local economy, and in turn, create more jobs,”  Valladares said in a statement. 

The bill is expected to be heard in committee on March 7, according to the state. 

The supervisor cited a Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation report that the amusement, gambling, and recreation sector has experienced the highest percentage of job losses in the county, with more than 98% of jobs lost in the earliest months of the pandemic.

Most of those impacted are low-income workers with an average salary of $32,000 per year, according to the LAEDC study.

Earlier this month, Six Flags announced the company is aiming to open all North American theme parks, including Magic Mountian, in the Spring.

Once allowed to re-open, Magic Mountain is expected to have COVID-19 protocols in place, including a face-covering requirement and social distancing guidelines. 

Six Flags also expected to put a reservation system in place to ensure the number of parkgoers does not exceed the 25% capacity allowed. 

In addition, the park is also expected to provide contactless temperature and security screenings.

A date for the full re-opening on Magic Mountian is still unknown as of Tuesday.

Note: City News Service contributed to this report.

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Local Leaders Weigh In On President Joe Biden Inauguration

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Photo Courtesy of Office of the President-Elect

Local leaders are calling the inauguration of President Joseph R. Biden “a hopeful beginning” as the new administration made sweeping changes on the first day in office.

Former California Senator Kamala Harris made history Wednesday becoming the first female, first black and first South Asian Vice President of the United States.

After the inaguration, Biden issued a range of executive actions, including rejoining the World Health Organization (WHO), creating a nationwide mask mandate, reversing restrictions on travel from several Muslim-majority countries and signing back onto the Paris Climate Accord.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti posted a series of Tweets congratulating Biden and supporting his stance on climate change.

“This inauguration is a hopeful beginning and a renewal of the American spirit – ushering in leadership with the courage, empathy, and unity of purpose to meet the challenges of our time,” Garcetti said. “America no longer rejects science… With the Biden Administration prepared to act, we will now have a partner in protecting our planet and building an economy that works for everyone.”

Following his address, Biden released over a dozen executive orders, including revoking a permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline, reversing regulations imposed by the Trump administration and halting funding for a border wall between the U.S. – Mexico border.

Other Southern California leaders responded to Biden’s inauguration including Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Hilda Solis, who tweeted: “It’s a new day in America but President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. remains the same man I’ve known for years. He is caring and kind, unifying and visionary. His healing message will bridge our national divide. We will build back better.”

In addition, the newly-elected president changed federal regulatory measures imposed by the Trump administration, rescinded the 1776 Commission which directs agencies to review their actions to ensure racial equity, and required executive branch appointees to sign an ethics pledge barring them from acting in personal interest and requiring them to uphold the independence of the Department of Justice.

Governor Gavin Newsom said California looks to partner with the new administration, as one of the Golden State’s own enters the White House.

“California stands ready to be a full partner to the Biden-Harris administration as they tackle some of the most challenging crises of the generation: restoring our nation’s promise and reasserting our leadership on the global stage,” Newsom said.

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