California Governor Gavin Newsom hopes to send $600 stimulus checks to state residents as a part of a multibillion-dollar spending plan he introduced in early May. If passed, the stimulus checks would amount to $8.1 billion.
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Under Newsom’s so-called Golden State Stimulus plan, approximately 11 million low-income and middle-income Californians would get payments. Families with an annual income ranging between $30,000 and $75,000 would receive $600 stimulus payments, while those with at least one child would get an additional $500 or a total of $1,100. During a press conference in Oakland on May 10, Gov. Newsom said two-thirds of Californians would receive a stimulus check under his proposal. He added, “Direct stimulus checks going into people’s pockets and direct relief—that’s meaningful.”
With Newsom proposing to send cash to Californians as he faces a recall election, former San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer, Newsom’s rival in the election, criticized the decision. Faulconer said, “One-time payments for just one year isn’t enough, not nearly enough. We need permanent, lasting tax relief for middle-class families.” Newsom has also proposed to spend $5.2 billion and $2 billion to help residents pay rent and past-due utility bills, respectively. The proposal requires state lawmakers’ approval.
California is gradually emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic with a state budget surplus of $76 billion. The budget surplus stems from wealthy Californians paying more in taxes in 2020 and $27 billion in federal pandemic relief. California lawmakers said they’ve removed many pandemic-related restrictions, and individuals are returning to work, but some families are still struggling financially. The lawmakers believe another round of stimulus checks would help such households, especially low-income families. Some federal lawmakers also believe that another round of stimulus payments would help individuals across the US.