Merced County Times Newspaper
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Gray Says State Should Foot Bill For New COVID-19 Regulations

Assemblymember Adam Gray
Adam C. Gray represents the 21st Assembly District which includes all of Merced County and portions of Stanislaus County.

Assemblymember Adam C. Gray (D-Merced) released the following statement upon introducing Assembly Bill 62 to provide a tax credit for essential and small businesses seeking to comply with costly new COVID-19 regulations.

“While the fifth largest economy in the world has failed to address longstanding shortages of swabs, reagents, and lab capacity associated with COVID-19 testing, Cal/OSHA wants to fine your local donut shop for running out of hand sanitizer or being unable to obtain and afford an infinite number of tests,” said Assemblymember Gray.

“Instead of putting our money where our mouth is, state regulators continue to push the costs associated with COVID-19 onto employers, many of whom are already struggling to keep their doors open. Voters soundly rejected this kind of government overreach when they defeated Prop 15. But recently adopted Cal/OSHA regulations double-down on such schemes by imposing burdensome testing, PPE, and other regulatory requirements on employers of every size.

“The state cannot hold small businesses to a higher standard than it is willing to hold itself. COVID-19 cases are spiraling throughout the state, yet state government has had nothing but excuses for why unemployment checks are late, testing supplies are running out in rural communities, contracts to boost lab capacity and essential supplies of PPE keep falling through. Now, hospitalizations are breaking records despite a prolonged economic shutdown.

“While the state pays no penalty for its incompetence or indifference, Cal/OSHA has adopted dozens of new regulations that owners of small businesses will be forced to meet no matter the cost.

“AB 62 flips this script. It will provide a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for any costs associated with complying with these new regulations. Instead of the state dictating rules from Sacramento, it will allow the state to partner with small businesses as we defeat this global pandemic.

“I can already hear those who created and supported these regulations saying the state cannot afford to spend the billions of dollars it will likely cost to implement this bill. Well, now you know how small business owners feel. After 9 months of enormous sacrifice and struggle, do you really think the small-business owners of California can afford it any better?”

Assemblymember Adam C. Gray represents the 21st Assembly District which includes all of Merced County and part of Stanislaus County.

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