Armed with a projected $75.7 billion budget surplus, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday unveiled an economic recovery plan that would send new direct payments to millions more Californians and additional relief for renters.
If approved, the proposed plan would expand the Golden State Stimulus program, providing billions in tax rebates to residents, the governor announced during a news conference.
Two-thirds of Californians will benefit from $600 direct payments sent to those who make up to $75,000 annually. Families with dependents, including undocumented residents, will be eligible for an additional $500.
“Direct stimulus checks, going into people’s pockets,” Newsom said. “That direct relief, that’s meaningful.”
About 5.7 million people were eligible for $600 direct payments under the Golden State Stimulus program, but the expansion announced Monday triples California’s previous investment to $11.9 billion, sending payments to residents who didn’t get a check in the first round.
The $100 billion proposal, dubbed the “California Comeback Plan,” would also double the rental assistance in the state, putting in a proposed $5.2 billion to help low-income Californians directly impacted by the pandemic pay back 100% of their back rent, according to Newsom.
The governor also announced $2 billion of relief to help Californians pay overdue utility expenses like water, gas and electricity.
“California is not just back. California is roaring back,” the governor said as he introduced the plan while facing a recall election.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf joined Newsom Monday, saying her city was hit hard by the pandemic. She commended the governor for his plan and urged residents to file their taxes.
“For much of the aid that is available in this unprecedented state budget, you must file your taxes,” the mayor said.
On Mother’s Day, the governor announced in a video that he’s also asking the Legislature to add 100,000 slots in child care across the state, and millions more in state funds to support child care providers and families.
Newsom will present his economic plan to lawmakers on Friday, and they will begin negotiations as a June 15 deadline to pass the budget nears.
The state is boasting a massive budget surplus a year after predicting a $55 billion budget shortfall. Officials said the surplus comes from taxes paid by wealthy residents.
Signaling support for the plan, Senate Budget Chair and State Senator Nancy Skinner, attended Monday’s news conference.
“Because of California’s very progressive tax structure, and because most of our revenue comes from the wealthiest … we have money,” she said. “Now, unlike other states, we are using that money to support the many Californians who’ve been hurt during this pandemic.”
“We are in the position now to be able to provide more,” the state senator said.