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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.
Credit: AP
FILE - In this Jan. 8, 2021, file photo, California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks about his 2021-2022 state budget proposal during a news conference in Sacramento, Calif. California Gov. Gavin Newsom is preparing to deliver his final budget proposal to the state Legislature. Newsom revealed his initial budget proposal in January. On Friday, May 14 he will update that proposal based on more than $100 billion in new money. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, Pool, File)

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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