California Governor Gavin Newsom wants to send $600 stimulus checks to state residents under a multibillion dollar spending plan he introduced this week.
About 11 million low- and middle-income Californians would receive payments under Newsom's so-called Golden State Stimulus plan. Households with annual income of between $30,000 and $75,000 would get $600 payments, while families with at least one child would receive an extra $500, or a total of $1,100. Newsom said during a press conference in Oakland on Monday that two-thirds of Californians would receive a stimulus payment under his proposal.
"Direct stimulus checks going into people's pockets and direct relief — that's meaningful," Newsom said.
Newsom faces political pressure
Newsom's plan to send cash to Californians comes as he. Newsom's rivals in the race, including former San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer, criticized the stimulus check plan.
"One-time payments for just one year isn't enough, not nearly enough," Faulconer told the Associated Press. "We need permanent, lasting tax relief for middle-class families."
If passed, the stimulus checks would total $8.1 billion. Newsom has also proposed spending $5.2 billion to help residents make rent payments and $2 billion for assistance to pay past-due utility bills. The proposal needs approval from state lawmakers.
California is gradually emerging from the pandemic with a $76 billion state budget surplus. The surplus stems from wealthy Californians paying more in taxes last year, along with $27 billion in federal pandemic relief. Other states are receiving federal pandemic aid this week, as well.
California lawmakers said they've lifted many pandemic-related restrictions and residents are returning to work, but some families are still struggling financially. Another round of stimulus checks would help those households, particularly low-income families, they said.
Some federal lawmakers also believe another round of stimulus payments would help families across the nation. Senators Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker and others areof stimulus aid that would effectively send recurring payments until the ends.
Of the three rounds of federal stimulus issued during the health crisis, most recipients say they've used it to pay down debt, according to an analysis from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
States get their own "stimmies"
Individual states are also getting their own version of a stimulus payment. The U.S. Treasury Department said Monday that $350 billion in state and local government COVID-19 relief payments are going out this week. The money is meant to replace revenue that governments lost during the pandemic. Most of the $350 billion — a little over $195 billion — is slated for state governments. Counties will split $65 billion and major cities will divide $46 billion, with the rest spread among tribal governments and smaller government entities.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said this week that governments can use the funds "to return to a semblance of normalcy" and "rehire teachers, firefighters and other essential workers."
Most governments will receive the federal funding in two batches, one this year and the other in 12 months. States that saw their unemployment rate increase by 2% or more since February will get one large sum. Governments must spend the funding by the end of 2024.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.