The proposal, which will require legislative approval, would dole out billions in cash payments to all California households with an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less, benefiting roughly two-thirds of the state’s population. Families with children would get an additional $500 under Newsom’s proposal.
“California is not coming back; California is going to come roaring back,” Newsom said at a press conference in Oakland.
The proposal is part of the governor’s $100 billion “California Comeback Plan” ahead of plans to fully reopen the state in mid-June. Newsom is also rolling out a more robust rental assistance program to help people with overdue rent and utility payments, and he’s expected to announce more spending plans throughout the week.
If approved by legislators, which is likely, this will be the second time California has delivered its own stimulus checks in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which took an exceptionally bad toll on employment in the state. In addition to the federal stimulus checks many received, Newsom signed legislation in February giving out $2.3 billion in checks to low-income residents and undocumented immigrants.
The proposal is made possible by a large windfall in the state’s budget.
“I’m about to make an announcement no other governor in California history has ever made, and I would argue no governor in American history has ever made,” Newsom said Monday. “Today we’re announcing a $75.7 billion budget surplus.”
The budget excess and stimulus checks give Newsom another thing to hang his hat on as he gears up for a recall election, likely sometime later this year. The Republican-led recall campaign gained steam because of pandemic-related school and business closures across the state, and a judge gave the campaign leaders extra time to collect signatures. Last month, the recall effort officially qualified for the state ballot.
As for another round of federal stimulus checks, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said last week that more payments will be up to Congress, not President Joe Biden.
“We’ll see what members of Congress propose, but those are not free,” she told reporters.