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State looks to 'roar back' with stimulus checks, free schooling, and small business grants

On Friday, the governor of the Golden State updated that proposal based on more than $100 billion in new money.

SACRAMENTO COUNTY, Calif. — California Gov. Gavin Newsom delivered a booming $267.8 billion spending plan to the Legislature as the state looks to "roar back" after a year of uncertainty brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

On Friday, the governor of the Golden State updated that proposal based on more than $100 billion in new money. That's a combination of a $76 billion surplus of state revenues plus $27 billion in federal coronavirus aid. It's fully one-third larger than the state's current budget.

Tap here to see a full summary of the revised budget proposal.

Probably the most searched aspect of Newsom’s “California Comeback Plan” is the expanded Golden State Stimulus payments, which would provide an additional $11.9 billion in direct cash payments to Californians in the form of $600 rebate checks. Those payments would apply to residents making less than $75,000 annually -- roughly two-thirds of Californians. Families with kids would get an additional $500 dollars for a total of $1,100.

Speaking of kids, the budget proposal also aims to provide for all 4-year-olds to attend transitional kindergarten (TK), before and after-school care, schools to become community centers, and introduce college savings accounts with $500 for 3.7 million students dedicating $20 billion overall for education.

The budget proposal also sets aside $5 billion for afterschool and summer programs in those areas of the state with high numbers of underprivileged youth. The program, which already has $2.5 billion in it would be bolstered by an

Newsom’s budget seeks to raise more money for small business grants. That grant program already has $2.5 billion, but with the surplus, Newsom is asking for $1.5 billion more for a total of $4 billion. That program gives up to $25,000 grants to small businesses.

Newsom also wants to use a sliver of the state's massive budget surplus to encourage guaranteed income programs. These programs give low-income people money each month and they decide how to spend it. The proposal would not create a statewide guaranteed income program. Instead, it sets aside $35 million over five years to help local governments fund pilot programs.

A few other highlights from the budget proposal include:

  • $7.2 billion to pay for outstanding rent and utility bills brought on by the pandemic
  • $6 billion on water and drought issues
  • $8.75 billion on housing for those experiencing homelessness
  • $11 billion for the transportation budget, including the high-speed rail project
  • $300 million to forgive traffic fines for low-income residents

There is much, much more included in Newsom’s revised budget plan. Click here to see a full point-by-point summary.

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