(KSEE/KGPE) — An $18.1 billion package to help reduce the impact of inflation on California residents was put forward by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday. The proposal includes tax refunds to eligible vehicle owners, rental assistance, and money for hospital and nursing staff.
Newsom also announced that California’s minimum wage is projected to increase to $15.50 per hour for all workers starting Jan. 1, 2023 (an increase required under law when inflation is over 7%).
Included in the proposal package is:
- $11.5 billion in tax refunds to help address inflation (in the form of the previously announced $400 checks to every registered vehicle owner)
- $2.7 billion in emergency rental assistance for low-income tenants
- $1.4 billion to help residents pay past-due electricity and water bills
- $750 million to support free public transport
- $304 million to extend health insurance premium assistance under Covered California for families of four earning $166,500 annually
- $439 million to pause the diesel sales tax for 12 months
- $157 million to waive child care fees for low-income families, benefiting 40,000 low-income families
Additionally, $933 million was outlined for bonuses to hospital and skilled nursing facility workers. The governor’s office states that it would provide $1,500 to those who have been “delivering care to the most acute patients during the COVID-19 pandemic and saved thousands of lives.”
The investment in childcare and the financial assistance for those using Covered California was welcomed by Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly, describing them as investments that reflect California’s values.
“These investments will make a meaningful impact on the lives of Californians by making health care and child care more affordable – while also providing relief for the many who struggled to afford the cost of energy during the pandemic.”Dr. Mark Ghaly
In a statement, Newsom says the surplus is being used to help balance out the high cost of inflation that continues to impact Californians.
“This inflation relief package will help offset the higher costs that Californians are facing right now and provide support to those still recovering from the pandemic,” said Newsom.