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'It's Not Enough': Sacramento Small Businesses Weigh In On California COVID Relief Package

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) - Experts called the coronavirus relief package announced by California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday a drop in the bucket in relation to how much damage the pandemic has done to small businesses.

Marcos Murillo is celebrating 25 years at Tapa The World restaurant in midtown Sacramento. He started as a line cook and now, he's the chef and owner.

"The bottom line is we're still surviving," he said.

Murillo said he's grateful to still be around after the pandemic permanently shut down many small businesses in the area, but he said the Newsom's relief plan doesn't quite cut it.

"It's not enough and they know that," Murillo said.

Newsom is promising grants between $5,000-$25,000 for small businesses. The amount is based on a business's annual revenue in its most recent tax return.

Also, small businesses can deduct up to $150,000 from state taxes if they received a PPP loan. More than 750,000 small businesses across California did.

Murillo says he'll take all the help he can get.

"Struggling for a whole year, $25,000 is like one hair on your head," he said.

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Dino Ballin from Pomp Salon in Stockton said even if he gets the full loan from the state, it won't be enough. He owes $300,000 in back rent alone.

Part of the relief deal promises to waive fees for restaurants and bars that serve alcohol. For Murillo, that's about $1,500 dollars a year. And to licensed barbers and cosmetologists like Ballin, that's about $50 dollars a year.

"Fifty bucks a year. So we shut down, I lost God knows how much, a million dollars, half a million dollars, hundreds of thousands of dollars, but here's fifty bucks," Ballin said.

Economist Sanjay Varshney said the money the state is spending won't make a difference in the survival of small businesses or the local economy as a whole.

"Just do the math. A $2.7 trillion dollar economy in California and were talking about $2 billion," he said.

Where does the money come from? Aside from the federal funds for childcare assistance, the rest of the relief package comes from state taxpayer money and is made possible by tax revenue collections that were much better than expected.

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