Gov. Gavin Newsom announced an additional round of $600 stimulus payments as part of his economic recovery plan during a news conference Monday morning.
The funds are coming from higher-than-expected tax revenues, which Gov. Newsom lauded as a $75.7 billion surplus.
Households with $75,000 in gross income are eligible for the payments, and families with children receive an additional $500.
Gov. Newsom estimated 78-80% of tax filers will be eligible, a much larger percentage than the first round of the Golden State Stimulus program. (The first payments, signed into law late February, only reached those making less than $30,000 per year.)
“While that (first payment) was important, it is also important to recognize that we needed to provide direct relief to people in the middle class,” he said.
Gov. Newsom also pledged an additional $2.6 billion in rental support (on top of his prior $2.6 billion) to address unpaid rent.
“We’re very mindful that the stimulus alone of $600, $500 for families with children, those I-10 filers, is not enough to address the stress, the anxiety over the course of the last year plus of this pandemic-induced recession,” he said. “And that’s why today we will be announcing our desire, our plan to double the rental assistance in the state of California with the goal of getting 100% of all the back rent paid.”
In addition to rent, he budgeted $2 billion in direct relief for utility bills, with $1 billion dedicated to water.
“We believe that people are better suited than ourselves on how best to use these dollars. And that’s why we want to get money into people’s pockets as quickly as possible, and we want folks to know that these resources are coming,” Gov. Newsom said.
This time last year, state officials predicted a $54.3 billion shortfall, but tax revenue soared as the state’s richest residents continued to thrive.
“This is all on the basis of the recovery that California is already experiencing,” the governor said. “It’s on the basis of the revenue that’s coming in historic terms in the state of California, and that’s because we are defeating and we are successfully applying strategies to address this pandemic.”
The plan will head to the state legislature Friday, and lawmakers have until June 15 to pass the budget.
“This is just the first of many announcements this week across the spectrum that amplify the narrative of this state truly roaring back,” he said.
Prompted by a reporter’s question, Gov. Newsom said he plans to let language allotting for distance learning to expire this summer.
“On June 30 at midnight, I anticipate (the distance learning allowance) will lapse and everybody should be back in the fall for in-person instruction safely and, in fact, our budget will reflect even more support than the previous support that has been provided for health and safety,” he said.
Gov. Newsom is holding press briefings daily through Thursday, highlighting sections of his proposed budget.