Sacramento, California – California lawmakers on Monday cleared the way for 5.7 million people to get at least $ 600 in one-time payments, as part of a state-sized coronavirus relief program to help people with low to moderate income to overcome the pandemic.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said he would sign the bill on Tuesday, a day after it was passed by the state legislature by a wide margin.
How to watch Newsom sign a $ 600 stimulus check bill today
- What: California Governor Gavin Newsom signs $ 600 stimulus check
- Dated: Tuesday 23 February 2021
- Time: 10 a.m. local time, 1 p.m. ET
- Online feed: Live on CBSN Los Angeles in the player above and on your mobile or streaming device
Fewer people will receive these payments compared to federal relief checks approved by Congress last year. But state lawmakers are targeting the money to reach the pockets of people who have not been subjected to these previous checks, including immigrants.
People eligible for the money should get it between 45 days and 60 days after receiving their state tax refunds, according to the Franchise Tax Board.
One of those people is Judy Jackson, a 75-year-old former teacher and cancer survivor who lives on about $ 1,000 a month from other government programs. Jackson said she would use some of the money to pay for a freezer she bought so she could have food delivered to her home and avoid going out shopping during the pandemic.
“Most months, I worry at the end of the month whether the money is going to run out before the month,” said Jackson, who said she was at higher risk of COVID-19 in due to its age and a number of underlying factors. health conditions. “It will allow you to have a little extra and maybe buy an ice cream from time to time.”
The payments are part of a larger aid package that the state legislature approved on Monday worth $ 7.6 billion. It includes more than $ 2 billion in grants for small businesses, waives about $ 25.6 million in commercial fees for struggling restaurants and barbers, and provides $ 30 million in assistance to food banks and $ 5 million more to diaper banks.
Most people will get the checks by claiming the California Earned Income Tax Credit on their personal income tax return. Typically, this covers people who earn $ 30,000 per year or less.
Each year, more than 20% of people eligible for the credit do not claim it, according to the Office of the Non-partisan Legislative Analyst. The spending plan that lawmakers approved on Monday includes $ 5 million for “outreach” to let people know how to ask for money. People who have already filed their 2020 returns can file an amended return, said State Senator Nancy Skinner, Democrat of Berkeley and chair of the Senate Budget and Budget Review Committee.
Others eligible for checks include people who earn a maximum of $ 75,000 per year after deductions and who use a taxpayer identification number to file their tax returns. These are mostly people who do not have a Social Security number, including immigrants.
Most of them were not eligible for federal relief checks approved by Congress last year. Because of this, the Democratic-controlled Legislature framed the bill in such a way that some of these people could get $ 1,200, not $ 600.
The final group eligible for vouchers are those who are already receiving assistance from government programs targeting low-income families, the elderly, the blind and the disabled. They should receive the money automatically.
California has the money to do so in part because the state – the most populous in the country with nearly 40 million people – has many wealthy people who have been less affected by the pandemic and continue to pay taxes.
The result is that California has an estimated one-time surplus of $ 15 billion to spend this year, a number that could increase further later this year as people file their taxes once again.
“We have to recognize that this pandemic has not hit all of us equally,” said state deputy Joaquin Arambula, a Democrat from Fresno.
California has some of the country’s toughest coronavirus business rules, banning indoor dining in much of the state and ordering retailers to limit the number of people allowed inside their stores .
Last year, Newsom used its emergency clearance to set aside $ 500 million for grants of up to $ 25,000 for small businesses affected by the pandemic. But in the first round of funding, the state received more than 334,000 applications totaling more than $ 4.4 billion in grants.
On Monday, the Legislature added an additional $ 2 billion to this program. Businesses with revenues between $ 1,000 and $ 2.5 million are eligible, and they must be open or at least have a plan to reopen when licensed.
Carson Democrat MP Mike Gipson said small business owners in his district were “praying for an answer.”
“This is the answer to their prayers,” he said.
But some Republicans, while voting for the bill, criticized Newsom for “the harm and harm” he has caused to businesses by ordering statewide shutdowns during the height of the pandemic.
“This bill didn’t have to be as big as it is today,” said MP James Gallagher, a Republican from Yuba City. “This governor has arbitrarily and unilaterally decided to shut down most of the small businesses in this state. As a result, many businesses have already gone out of business and that should be a problem for all of us.”