Calif. offers sales tax ‘reprieve’ for businesses, launches new jobs site

Coronavirus

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Gavin Newsom announced further support for small businesses and employees impacted by COVID-19 Thursday, including a “one-year reprieve” on sales tax for business owners and a new job-searching website.

The announcements came the day the U.S. learned 6.6 million residents applied for unemployment insurance last week — shattering a record set just the week before. The widespread closure of businesses and services not deemed “essential” in California has ravaged workplaces across the state.

The governor announced that struggling business owners can now, free of any fines or penalties, keep upwards of $50,000 in sales/use tax as a “bridge loan” rather than immediately turning it in to the state. Businesses with less than $5 million in taxable sales will be eligible, and owners can hold onto the funds for up to a year. Read more on the measure here.

Newsom also launched a new website, onwardca.org, which will match open jobs to laid-off workers based on their specific skillset. The site already had 70,000 open jobs by Thursday, the governor said.

Openings on the site are prioritized by four industries that are actively hiring during the crisis: health care, agriculture, logistics (transportation, warehousing, etc.) and grocers. Applicants will be asked to fill out a “dynamic matching system” questionnaire to find work relevant to their experience, but there are also retraining resources.

Newsom said 49% of all private sector employees in the state work for small businesses — the portion of the workforce he believes will most benefit from the new measures. “So often we take them for granted, even in the best of times,” the governor said. “Right now they have been devastated.”

In addition to the state measures, Newsom urged business owners and workers alike to research and apply for benefits made available by the recently passed national economic relief packages. “We need to be able to get the federal dollars into the state of California,” Newsom said. Read more about federal benefits here.

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