Thursday, September 27, 2012

California Economic Report/ EDD

A report came out yesterday from the Assembly Committee on Jobs, Economic Development and the Economy about California’s economy.
Some of the findings were
In 2011 total GDP was $1.95 trillion as compared to US GDP of  $15 trillion
If California was a country it would be the 9th largest  GDP in the world
There were 2.7 million foreclosures in the US in 2011 a 34% reduction from the prior year. California registered the third highest foreclosure rate in the country with 1 in every 31 housing units having at least one foreclosure filing during the year
California ranks 4th among 50 states in science and technology
California ranked 1 among 50 states in patents issued in 2010 with 30080 patents.NY was second with 8095
California ranked 3 in startups and 1 in new branches in high tech manufacturing
The Milken Institute ranks the UC system first in technology transfer and commercialization.
Please let me know if you would like the full report.

Yesterday one of Small Business California’s member wrote me about a situation he had  with EDD. He had an employee quit  and move to Hawaii. The employee   filed an unemployment claim with EDD saying his personal circumstances forced  him to move. The judge for EDD found in favor of the employee because of compelling personal circumstances and that a personal circumstance can cause a reasonable person desirous of continuing employment to give up employment. According to our member he was kicked out of the place he was living and he did not find another place suitable to live  so moved  back to Hawaii. Our member is now being charged in his reserve account.
Does this seem right to you? Needless to say our member does not think so.

Scott Hauge
Small Business California
2311 Taraval Street
San Francisco, CA  94116

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Barbara Vohryzek/ Public View of Small Business

Yesterday I had the opportunity of talking to and hearing Barbara Vohryzek who has recently been appointed  by Governor Brown to Deputy Director of Small Business at the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. This position  is usually referred to as the Small Business Advocate.  Barbara is clearly very intelligent and has hit the ground running.  She has a strong background in finance and 504 loans
She has been in her position only two weeks and is committed to helping small businesses around the state.  She also says she definitely  has the ear of the Governor.
Issues she has identified are access to capital, streamlining regulations and  giving input on California’s implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
What ideas do you have on how she can help California Small Businesses?

In San Francisco there is a ballot measure to change the current payroll tax to a gross receipts tax. In polling that has been done small business had a 67%  favorable rating of people. This is the highest of any group and is a big reason the campaign  is working with us to get the measure passed.
I would contend that this is true throughout the state and is a good reason small businesses if they speak up can make a difference in public policy.

Scott Hauge
Small Business California
2311 Taraval Street
San Francisco, CA  94116

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

SB1186/Governor Signs Workers Compensation bill

Many of you have been following SB1186 which addresses the abuse of ADA lawsuits. It has passed the legislature and is sitting on the Governor’s desk. I have just learned that the Governor may veto this legislation.

What the bill does is

Reduce statutory damages and litigation for defendants who correct violations

Prevent stacking of multiple claims to increase statutory claims

Ban demands for money in demand letters

Require specificity from demand letters and complaints

Have State Bar review demand letters

Allow mandatory evaluation conferences.

Require notice to property tenants of the building’s Certified Access Specialist program

Have the California Commission of Disability Access receive copies of complaints in order to post data on the top 10 types of violations[ I am a member of this Commission]

This is important legislation for small businesses. Small Business California will be sending a letter to the Governor today supporting this legislation. If there are any associations that want to sign onto the letter please let me know today.

I will also be sending a letter from business owners supporting this legislation. Please let me know today if you will sign on.

Yesterday Lori Kammerer and I were at the signing ceremonies with the Governor in San Diego and Burbank of SB 863[ workers compensation reform].

I had a chance to briefly talk to the Governor and told him about the letters we sent from 25 associations and 120 small business owners supporting this bill.

On the stage there were a list of associations that supported this legislation. If you signed on your name was there.

The Governor asked me to thank all of the associations and business owners that signed.

Scott Hauge


Small Business California

2311 Taraval Street

San Francisco, CA 94116


Governor Signs Steinberg/Dutton Legislation Curbing Abuses of Disabled Access Law

 Well it looks like the rumors I have been hearing are incorrect. The Governor just signed SB1186 the ADA bill.  For all of you that agreed to sign our letter thank you. Please know we will be sending a letter to the Governor and Senator Steinberg a thank you letter.
If you have not responded and want to be on the thank you letter please let me know.
In cases like this my philosophy is it is better to be prepared and get out letters if you are not sure of outcome.
Hope you agree.
See below

Scott Hauge
Small Business California
2311 Taraval Street
San Francisco, CA  94116


From: Hedlund, Mark
Sent: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 3:27 PM
Subject: Governor Signs Steinberg/Dutton Legislation Curbing Abuses of Disabled Access Law

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                                            Contact: Mark Hedlund 
September 19, 2012                                                                                                                                                                          916-651-4006

                         Governor Signs Legislation Reforming Disabled Access Law

(Sacramento) – A measure to protect California businesses from predatory legal action while improving access for members of the disabled community is now California law, as Governor Jerry Brown today signed Senate Bill 1186. This bipartisan effort co-authored by Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and Senator Bob Dutton (R-Inland Empire) becomes law immediately upon the Governor’s signature, as both houses of the Legislature passed the bill with overwhelming support as an urgency measure.

The bill brings reform to the state’s disability access law by prohibiting “demand for money” letters, where attorneys target businesses with alleged minor access violations and demand a quick monetary settlement in lieu of a more expensive lawsuit or fixing the problem to improve access. Among other provisions, the bill prevents attorneys from “stacking” multiple claims for the same alleged violation in order to increase monetary awards, while it also reduces statutory damages for businesses that fix unintentional violations within 30 to 60 days.

”The whole point of our state and federal disability access laws is to remove barriers for the disabled, giving them full and equal access to businesses like everyone else. Up until now unfortunately, it was often cheaper and quicker for business owners to settle out of court than to remove those obstacles,” said Steinberg. “SB 1186 will instead provide more incentives to fix the violations and enhance accessibility. After many months of working with business and disability rights advocates, this compromise applies common sense to difficult issues.”

While the new law prohibits demand letters asking for money or offers to settle, an attorney with a claim for damages can still send a letter to a business pointing out the alleged violation and advise the owner and/or tenant they “may be civilly liable for actual and statutory damages for a violation of the construction-related accessibility requirement.”  Any complaint must also specify the alleged barrier with the date and manner in which it denied access to a person with a disability.

In addition, SB 1186 makes a distinction between intentional and unintentional violations. While a business or property owner would be eligible for reduced damages if the violation is unintentional and is fixed within the statutory time frame, the law preserves the full statutory damages liability for intentional violations.

The urgency measure passed the State Senate 34 – 3, and passed the State Assembly by a vote of 77 – 0.


Thursday, September 06, 2012

Small Business Stats/On Bill Financing/ Legislation

Yvonne Lee Regional Advocate for the SBA sent me some updated statistics about small business [defined as businesses with less than 500 employees]. They are as follows

27.9 million small businesses

99.7% of the US employer firms

64% of the net new private sector jobs

49.2% of private sector employment

42.9% of private sector employment

46% of private sector output

43% of high tech employment

98% of firms exporting goods

33% of exporting value.

If you would like full report please let me know.

Thank you Winslow for gathering this information.

San Diego Gas&Electric reported last month that they have recently marked a milestone with On Bill Financing. This program has helped more than 1000 commercial customers since pioneering the program in 2007.

More than $26 million in energy efficient equipment has been financed through On Bill financing which lends to commercial customers with no money down and 0% interest.. The funds are repaid from the energy cost savings produced by the equipment. The loans are from $5000 to $100000.

The default rate on the loans are less than1%. Thank you Frank Spasaro at SDG&E for making it happen.

Small Business California and Hank Ryan brought this program to California. PG&E and Southern California Edison also have programs as required by the CPUC but they have dragged their feet in implementation and for the most part have done everything they can to kill this and not make it readily available to their commercial customers.

The legislative session has ended. Small Business California is looking at developing an agenda for next year. Is there any legislation that you think would help California small businesses. Keep in mind that we are talking about only state legislation not US or local.

Scott Hauge


Small Business California

2311 Taraval Street

San Francisco, CA 94116