Barring any unforeseen circumstances, money for another round of stimulus checks to California taxpayers likely will be included when Gov. Gavin Newsom updates his proposed budget for the coming fiscal year in a few months.
The tax rebates were not part of the initial $286.4 billion proposal unveiled by the governor earlier this week, though he left open the possibility that such payments would be added in the May revision.
On Wednesday, he further clarified, indicating the probability of that happening.
“We expect in the May revise language when I update the budget that we are likely to have an additional rebate to the taxpayers,” he said, adding, “no new taxes in our budget.”
He did not provide any further details, including who would qualify. California had two rounds of payments last year as part of its Golden State Stimulus program.
The first round — known as Golden State Stimulus I — went to tax filers who received the California Earned Income Tax Credit or had an Individual Tax Identification Number and had a total of adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less.
Newsom later introduced Golden State Stimulus II, which expanded eligibility to residents with a Social Security Number who reported earning $75,000 or less in their 2020 tax return.
All told, the GSS program returned a total of $12 billion to millions of California taxpayers, making it the largest state tax rebate in U.S. history, officials said. The last stimulus checks were scheduled to have been mailed out by Jan. 11.
The direct payments were possible because California last year had a budget surplus in excess of its constitutional limit as set under what’s known as the “Gann limit.”
When that happens — and it’s only happened twice since the ceiling was established over 40 years ago — the state has to give money back to the taxpayers in some form.
California anticipates the same scenario for the 2022 fiscal year that begins on July 1, hence why another round of stimulus checks are once again on the table.