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$600 Stimulus Checks, $2 Billion To Re-Open Classrooms: Gov. Newsom Unveils California Budget Proposal

SACRAMENTO (CBS13/AP) — Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to give schools $2 billion to help start re-opening schools for in-person learning.

The money is part of the governor's 2021-22 California budget proposal, which announced the details of on Friday.

Newsom said his $227 billion budget plan addresses five urgent needs: Vaccinating people against coronavirus, reopening schools, supporting small businesses, getting money into people's pockets and preparing for wildfires, for which he includes $1 billion.

Some of the governor's plans had already been forecast. After Congress approved a $600 payment for adults, Newsom said he wants to give an additional $600 to Californians who earn $30,000 or less. If approved, that proposal would cost $2.4 billion.

Newsom also wants to spend more than $4 billion to, he says, create jobs and help small businesses.

He had already said he wants to give schools $2 billion to help pay for testing, ventilation and personal protective equipment as he seeks a return to in-person instruction, for which he has received lukewarm support from teachers unions and school districts. He said passage of that plan requires immediate action, saying schools can't wait for the money.

On vaccines, he said his focus is "getting out of the freezers and administering into people's arms, these vaccines."

"We must do that in order to safely reopen for in-person instruction in our schools, to reopen our small businesses as well as businesses large and small all across the state of California," he said.

In total, the budget plan would give schools the highest level of funding - about $90 billion - in California history.

Higher education leaders have already started praising Newsom's budget proposal.

"We appreciate this thoughtful proposed investment that will undoubtedly lead to more Californians from all backgrounds earning high-quality, life-transforming degrees and furthering the Golden State's economic recovery," said California State University Chancellor Joseph I. Castro in a statement.

More from CBS Sacramento:

It marks a sharp turn as lawmakers were forced to make cuts last summer as they struggled to make up a $54.3 billion shortfall in the midst of the pandemic.

Since California's progressive tax structure relies mostly on wealthy earners, the pandemic has led to a strange contrast in the nation's most populous state: Many people who earn more than $60,000 per year have been able to keep their jobs because they can work from home.

That has led the state to collect $74.4 billion in taxes, or $13.7 billion more than it had anticipated.

Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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