Editor’s note: This story is republished from CalMatters, a public interest news outlet covering the important issues affecting all of California.
Gov. Gavin Newsom, who is facing a recall election, wants to use the state’s sizable budget surplus to put money in the majority of Californians’ pockets.
The governor today will unveil an $11.9 billion proposal that would send $600 stimulus checks to two-thirds of Californians and an additional $500 to families with kids. Details, including who would qualify, were unavailable late Sunday, although Newsom’s office said the payments would benefit the middle class as well as low-income residents.
If approved by the Legislature, the plan would triple the size of the Golden State Stimulus package Newsom signed into law in February. That package included one-time $600 payments for an estimated 5.7 million residents who receive the state’s earned income tax credit and an extra $600 for low-income undocumented taxpayers.
The new plan also would include payments for families, building on the expanded child tax credit in the recent federal stimulus package that experts say could cut the Golden State’s child poverty in half.
Newsom’s office is promoting it as “the biggest state tax rebate in American history,” part of a $100 billion economic recovery package to address “five of the state’s most stubborn challenges.” Newsom will unveil the rest of the relief plan this week before officially presenting on Friday his revamped state budget, which accounts for a larger-than-expected surplus that emerged after his initial budget proposal in January. That will kick off another round of negotiations with lawmakers — who have their own ideas for how the state should spend its surplus — before the June 15 deadline to pass the budget.
The other four “stubborn challenges” remain to be seen, but Newsom is under pressure from advocates to address mounting utility debt — Californians’ unpaid water bills total $1 billion — expand rent relief and extend the state’s soon-to-expire eviction moratorium.
Newsom previewed another major budget proposal in a Mother’s Day video message shared on Sunday: He wants to fund 100,000 more child care slots, invest millions of dollars in child care providers and families, and direct $200 million to support career pathways for home health care workers. The governor has long emphasized families and mothers in his budget proposals, but he’s also likely trying to shore up key Democratic support ahead of the recall election.
Some child care providers still haven’t received relief payments promised by the state, and at least 8,500 licensed child care sites have shuttered amid the pandemic, straining parents and throwing providers — who are disproportionately women of color — out of work.
This article was written by Emily Hoeven, originally for CalMatters.