Additional stimulus checks may soon be on the way for many Californians following the state legislature’s approval of a 2021-2022 spending plan.
The record $ 262.6 billion budget includes a massive surplus of around $ 80 billion and while some key aspects of the plan have yet to be negotiated by lawmakers and Gov. Gavin Newsom, they have reached a deal. on most major issues, including $ 8 billion in stimulus checks for middle-class Californians and increased funding to help the homeless.
Additionally, the state’s surplus allowed for increased spending on California’s social safety net programs and financial support for education, both of which seemed impossible just a year ago when the pandemic was raging.
As part of Golden State Stimulus’ expansion, the partial budget deal includes $ 600 stimulus checks for Californians earning less than $ 75,000, building on similar payments earlier this year that were sent. to those who earn less than $ 30,000. The deal also provides $ 1.5 billion in grants of up to $ 25,000 for small businesses struggling to recover from the pandemic and extends health coverage to more undocumented immigrants, though the details on other issues such as childcare remain to be defined.
The budget also contains billions of dollars to fight forest fires and drought threats, including $ 1 billion over several years for forest fire prevention, $ 3 billion for drought control and 3.7 billion. billions of dollars over the next few years to tackle climate change, though Newsom and lawmakers are still figuring out exactly how to spend the funds. Funding for the state high-speed rail project is also noticeably absent from the fiscal framework, due to disagreements over how much of the train the government should fund.
The deal was passed with overwhelming support from state Democrats and few Republicans, and also included $ 250 million to have Newsom’s recall campaign put on the ballot as early as September. Assembly member Heath Flora, who represents Turlock, voted against the budget deal and submitted an amendment to the bill that would replenish the state’s Rainy Day Fund.
The state’s $ 7.8 billion Rainy Day Fund was withdrawn in 2020 to fill a deficit that never materialized.
“It made sense to dip into our savings when we thought the pandemic budget deficit would be over $ 50 billion. Unlike the Fed, the state cannot support a budget deficit. We have to balance the budget, ”said Flora. He and other Republicans submitted several amendments to the finance bill, none of which were approved.
“We drained almost $ 8 billion in savings and ended up with a surplus of $ 80 billion,” Flora continued. “It would take less than 10% of the surplus to replenish our savings. It seems fair enough to me.