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Proposed bill could benefit both displaced Californians and businesses during emergencies

Posted at 11:12 PM, Feb 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-18 02:49:43-05

The recent winter storms certainly took a toll on our area. many felt the damage firsthand – some even finding themselves with nowhere to go, dealing with flooded homes.

“I did not, but I've heard of, you know, people in town that did. But we were lucky. We were not affected," said San Luis Obispo Dennis Gardner.

Local Assemblymember Dawn Addis says she saw firsthand the destruction from the floods.

“During and right at the end, the tail end of the storms that I visited I want to say 20 different locations across the entire assembly district. Some of the most difficult visits were to people's homes where they had been displaced," said Addis.

So she’s proposing what would be a win/win for both businesses and residents. Local business owners who can provide a hand – like hotel owners with extra rooms – would get a tax break for helping their neighbors.

Assembly Bill 877, or the “Good Neighbor Tax Credit” would be a tax incentive aimed at locally owned businesses that can temporarily house displaced individuals during a declared state of emergency.

“What we found out, what I saw firsthand during these last historic floods was a number of people who needed shelter, who are out of their homes because of the destruction of these floods," added Addis.

The bill could be a lifeline for people needing immediate shelter.

“Really meant to be that bridge into getting back into longer term, more permanent housing. So it's really meant to be for that emergency situation where the house was flooded, and the family had to leave. They needed somewhere for those few nights and then they're getting into a more permanent shelter," said Addis.

“On the surface, it sounds like a really good idea, especially in light of all the housing problems we have here in the county. The only thing that would concern me is that there needs to be proper oversight," said Gardner.

The tax break would be limited to locally owned hotels with fewer than 50 total rooms.

“They can have larger economic impacts on their own business. So this is a way to stimulate the economy during a natural disaster while helping people to help people," explained Addis.

 Addis said the bill is still in the initial stages so specific details including how long the stays could be are still being worked out.

In order to claim the credit, the establishment would need to be located in a county that was in a state of emergency, declared by either the governor of California or the president of the United States.