By Rep. Mike Garcia (CA-25)
Californians have been under state-mandated lockdowns for almost a year. These lockdowns have had severe impacts on all Californians, but especially our small businesses. We all know and love the small businesses in our communities, as they are at the core of our community and keep us all connected. Unfortunately, they are unfairly punished by Governor Newsom’s lockdowns. As a former small business owner, my heart breaks for these hardworking Californians.
We’ve all seen the injustices in the Governor’s lockdown policies and the nation saw it when an L.A. County restaurant owner shared her story on social media of how she spent her time and money to set up an outdoor dining space that was compliant with L.A. County’s health requirements that she was then forced to close. Meanwhile, across the street from her restaurant, a movie production company was able to set up shop. Her story is just one of many small business owners who were forced to shutter their doors and lose what for many was their only source of income.
Now more than ever we need to support our small businesses in whatever way we can. One of my priorities is making sure that Californians devastated by the state-mandated lockdowns are given the proper financial protection they need as they try to safely reopen. In Congress, I worked to do that by voting in support of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and as a result, Congress was able to refund and reopen the PPP.
While the PPP has helped many struggling small businesses, the rollout of any new program – especially one run by the federal government – is never going to be seamless. I’ve spoken to many small business owners in California’s 25th district and heard of the successes of the program, I’ve also heard about the hiccups. Difficulties with receiving payments in a timely manner, frustrating phone lines, and the confusion of new applications and processes are a hassle for already overwhelmed small business owners.
In order to provide the constituents of California’s 25th District with the support and help they need, I held three roundtable discussions with over 70 small business owners and administrators from the district. We were also joined by the Ranking Member of the House Small Business Committee Blaine Luetkemeyer and the committee’s Senior Policy Director Rob Yavor to answer questions and concerns regarding the PPP loans.
Having these open discussions with small business owners is crucial. Understanding what is and is not working helps me to better understand how I can help small business owners in need. My commitment is to ensure that our community can safely and quickly open back up, and that hardworking Americans can continue pursuing the American dream.
Small business owners and administrators who are still having difficulty with the PPP loans are welcome to call my office at (661) 568-4855 or contact me via email. Constituents who are not small business owners or administrators that have questions regarding COVID-19 economic relief or other issues with federal agencies should also contact my office. Please know my staff and I are here to help Californians during these trying times. We are in this together.