Dear friends and neighbors:

As the only Senate Democrat who is also a small business owner-operator, I came into session championing three bills to help small business owners across the state.

The first involves unemployment insurance (UI). Due to all the layoffs from the pandemic, there was going to be a huge spike in UI rates—of a magnitude I’ve never seen—but we passed a bill that’s already been signed into law by the governor that provides immediate relief to protect small business owners from tax increases that would normally follow the historic wave of layoffs that were forced upon them.

The second bill involves business-and-occupation taxes. It clarifies that people who receive federal support through the Payroll Protection Program will not be charged state taxes on these small-business loans.

The third bill is specific to restaurants, particularly those that purchased costly annual liquor licenses but have been unable to sell or serve liquor because of the pandemic. In other words, they each paid for a liquor license they can’t use, in some cases as much as $2,000. This bill provides relief by waiving the cost of their liquor license fees for next year to make up for their inability to use the licenses they bought this past year.

I expect all three bills to pass, giving me hope this will be a good session for small businesses and the many people who benefit from them—the customers who enjoy their products and services, the workers whose jobs they provide, the households whose public services their taxes fund, and the broader communities that grow and thrive on the economic prosperity they create.

Best regards,