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There Is Cash in California’s Comeback Plan for Your Small Business

Just in case Black businesses in the state are not aware, the California Legislature recently passed the $100 billion California Comeback Plan. It is the biggest economic recovery package in California history.

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Governor Gavin Newsom

Just in case Black businesses in the state are not aware, the California Legislature recently passed the $100 billion California Comeback Plan. It is the biggest economic recovery package in California history.

And in it, there are billions of dollars in cash relief for small businesses. 

State Treasurer Fiona Ma and Small Business Majority, an advocacy organization founded by and for small business owners, are hosting a webinar to share information about the new entrepreneurship programs included in the California Comeback Plan. It will be held at 1:00 p.m., Wednesday, August 25. 

“As California businesses emerge from survival mode and embark on various stages of re-opening, now is the time to develop strategies that can help companies get the jumpstart they need and grow in innovative ways,” said Ma when she first announced the webinar series. 

During the upcoming briefing, the leaders will also share information about how CalSavers, a free individual retirement account (IRA) for small business employers, can help small business owners rehire employees laid off due to the pandemic. 

They will also talk about the Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant’s reopening. That program, valued at more than $2 billion, has been providing grants of up to $25,000 to small businesses and non-profits across the state. 

California is home to 4.1 million small businesses, representing over 99% of all businesses in the state and employing nearly half of the state’s total workforce. About 1.2 million of them (29%) are minority-owned.

In June, Gov. Gavin Newsom visited two Black-owned small businesses in Oakland to spread the gospel about the California Comeback Plan, which Ma intends to also do during the webinar.

“This isn’t all about dollars and cents. This is about magical moments. This is about communities,” Newsom said, speaking of supporting Black businesses while he was standing in front of Graffiti Pizza in Oakland. “Small businesses are about communities.”

According to the June 2020 report by ZIPPIA, titled the “Most Supportive States for Black Businesses,” California ranked No. 4 before the onset of the pandemic. But those numbers fell in the first half 2020 after being impacted by a sluggish economy that is now looking to rebound more than a year later. 

Topics up for discussion during the webinar will include the Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program and when to apply; the Microbusiness COVID-19 Relief Grant Program and the California Venues Grant Program (both new); and CalSavers, a free workplace-based retirement program.

A question-and-answer session will follow the discussions. 

The California Comeback Plan was designed to provide support for small businesses to recover from the pandemic. The plan invests an additional $1.5 billion in COVID-19 relief grants – bringing the total to $4 billion. That amount represents the largest small business grant program in the country.

Earlier this year, Newsom delivered immediate relief to small businesses, including a historic $6.2 billion tax cut for businesses — the largest state small business tax cut in the history of the United States, according to the governor’s office. 

“When you talk about California roaring back you can’t come roaring about unless small businesses are fully back,” Newsom said during his Oakland visit.

For information and the webinar hosted by Small Business Majority, visit https://smallbusinessmajority.org/events

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Bay Area

IRS Extends Filing Dates in Counties Under Federal Emergency Declarations

The announcement affects residents in Alameda, Marin, Contra Costa, San Francisco, Monterey, Napa, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano and Sonoma counties, the IRS said.

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Eligible taxpayers will also have until May 15 to make 2022 contributions to their IRAs and health savings accounts.
Eligible taxpayers will also have until May 15 to make 2022 contributions to their IRAs and health savings accounts.

By Katy St. Clair, Bay City News Foundation

The Internal Revenue Service has extended its annual tax return due date by a month for people who live in areas impacted by the recent storms, the IRS announced on Tuesday.

California storm victims now have until May 15 to file their individual or business taxes if their area was declared an emergency by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The announcement affects residents in Alameda, Marin, Contra Costa, San Francisco, Monterey, Napa, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano and Sonoma counties, the IRS said. A full list of counties can be found at https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-relief-in-disaster-situations.

Eligible taxpayers will also have until May 15 to make 2022 contributions to their IRAs and health savings accounts.

Taxpayers will not have to do anything to initiate the extension, the IRS said, and do not have to contact the agency to get this relief.

Some other extensions are being granted to farmers, those who pay quarterly estimated payments, and those who pay quarterly payroll and excise taxes. To learn more, go to irs.gov.

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Bay Area

City Fails to Win $182 Million Federal Grant for Oakland A’s Howard Terminal Project

Opponents said the lack of a recommendation by the U.S. Department of Transportation “shows the lack of credibility — likely based on concerns over safety, economic viability, disruptions to port traffic and supply chains, echoed by maritime stakeholders — for the future of the project with key public transportation and political stakeholders that should prompt an overall re-evaluation.”

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A city document suggests $600 million will be needed for offsite infrastructure.
A city document suggests $600 million will be needed for offsite infrastructure.

By Keith Burbank | Bay City News

Oakland may miss out on millions of dollars in grant money that could advance the Oakland A’s proposed ballpark at the city’s port.

The U.S. Department of Transportation failed to recommend that Oakland get $182.9 million in the initial round of funding for the city’s Waterfront Mobility Project. Oakland has not received official word that it was denied the grant money.

The city has been securing dollars for the offsite infrastructure needed to support a new ballpark at the Charles P. Howard Terminal.

“While we are disappointed to have not been selected in the first round, we believe we put forward a strong application and are well positioned to secure other funding sources,” said Fred Kelley, director of the Oakland Department of Transportation. “We will continue to pursue other funding sources to ensure our projects have the resources they need.”

Oakland applied for grant money through the Mega Grant Program, which funds “large, complex projects that are difficult to fund by other means and likely to generate national or regional economic, mobility, or safety benefits.”

The ballpark proposed by the Oakland A’s would seat about 35,000 people, and the development overall consists of new housing, parkland, an entertainment venue and commercial space.

Not everyone wants the A’s to build a new park at the Port of Oakland. Groups have come together in opposition, hoping to have the A’s build a new park in East Oakland at the current Oakland Coliseum site.

Groups led by the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association sued to stop Oakland from issuing a required environmental impact report for the proposed ballpark.

The opponents said the lack of a recommendation by the U.S. Department of Transportation “shows the lack of credibility — likely based on concerns over safety, economic viability, disruptions to port traffic and supply chains, echoed by maritime stakeholders — for the future of the project with key public transportation and political stakeholders that should prompt an overall re-evaluation.”

A city document suggests $600 million will be needed for offsite infrastructure. The city has secured or is in the process of securing more than $320 million of that money, according to city documents published in December.

Former Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf was a strong supporter of the project.

New Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao said at her inauguration Monday that she will work with the Oakland A’s on a deal to keep the team in Oakland while protecting Oakland values.

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Activism

California Family Whose Beachfront Properties were Seized 100 years ago, Sells Land Back to County for $20 Million

In the 1920s, the beach resort was extremely popular with African American tourists. At that time, Black people were not permitted on white beaches. The site became famously known as “Bruce’s Beach.” The children and grandchildren of Charles and Willa Bruce fought for decades to get back the land.

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Supervisors Janice Hahn and Holly Mitchell commemorate the signing of State legislation to return the land to the closest living heirs of the Charles and Willa Bruce. Credit / County of Los Angeles.
Supervisors Janice Hahn and Holly Mitchell commemorate the signing of State legislation to return the land to the closest living heirs of the Charles and Willa Bruce. Credit / County of Los Angeles.

By Stacy M. Brown
NNPA Newswire

The great-grandchildren of the African American couple Willa and Charles Bruce, whose land in Southern California was taken in 1924 and returned to the family last year, have opted to sell it back to the local government for $20 million.

In the 1920s, the beach resort was extremely popular with African American tourists. At that time, Black people were not permitted on white beaches.

The site became famously known as “Bruce’s Beach.”

The children and grandchildren of Charles and Willa Bruce fought for decades to get back the land.

Chief Duane Yellow Feather Shepard, a family historian and spokesman for the Bruce family, stated in a 2021 interview, “It was a very significant location because there was nowhere else along the California coast where African Americans could go to enjoy the water.”

The Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacists often threatened the Bruce family, but they kept the resort open and took care of the land.

In 1924, the municipal council used eminent domain to take the land to build a park.

But, according to a TV show called “The Insider,” the area wasn’t used for many years.

Willa and Charles Bruce fought back in court, but their compensation was only $14,000. In recent years, local officials have estimated the property’s value to be as high as $75 million.

The area contains two coastal properties and is currently used for lifeguard training.

Janice Hahn, chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, revealed that the family would sell the property back to the local government.

Hahn stated that the price was set through an appraisal.

Hahn stated, “This is what reparations look like, and it is a model I hope governments around the country would adopt.”

The statement made by Hahn may or may not be exactly what the Bruce family desired in addition to the restitution of their land.

In 2021, Anthony Bruce, the great-great-grandson of Willa and Charles Bruce, told The New York Times, “An apology would be the least they could do.”

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