Am I eligible for the proposed $600 stimulus checks in California? What you need to know

·3 min read
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - Apr. 30, 2021: Diners enjoy their dinner on Ruam Mitr's two-table sidewalk patio on Friday, Apr. 30, 2021, at the Thai restaurant on Melrose Ave., in Fairfax, Los Angeles. (Silvia Razgova / For the Times) ATTN: 765734-la-fo-spring-dining-Ruam-Mitr-Thai
Pandemic dining at Ruam Mitr Thai restaurant on Melrose Avenue April 30. (Silvia Razgova / For The Times)

Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled an economic recovery plan for California on Monday aimed at help residents as the COVID-19 pandemic begins to fade.

California's economy is opening up rapidly amid falling COVID-19 numbers, but economic pain persists.

The proposal to deliver $8 billion in new cash payments to millions of Californians is part of a $100-billion economic stimulus plan.

This would be the second round of state stimulus checks proposed by the governor.

In February, the governor signed legislation to provide 5.7 million low-income Californians with $2.3 billion in state stimulus checks. The money was provided for residents including those earning $30,000 a year or less who receive the state Earned Income Tax Credit. It also went to people who file tax returns with an individual taxpayer identification number but who don’t have a Social Security number, the bulk of whom are immigrants in the country illegally.

Families who file with an identification number and receive CalEITC have been eligible for up to $1,200 in the first round. The state said this month that so far 2.5 million Golden State Stimulus payments worth $1.6 billion have been issued.

Here are key points of the new plan:

Stimulus checks

The proposal calls for $600 stimulus checks for eligible Californians. Families with children would get an additional $500. The plan breaks down this way:

▪ $600 direct payments to all taxpayers who make up to $75,000 a year who did not receive a first payment

▪ Additional $500 in direct payments to families with dependents

▪ Additional $500 in direct payments to undocumented families

Rental assistance

  • Newsom also proposed $5 billion to double rental assistance to get 100% of back rent paid for those who have fallen behind.

  • He has also proposed as much as $2 billion in direct payments to pay down utility bills that are overdue.

The big picture

  • The plan still needs approval from the Legislature.

  • It was made possible in part by a budget that has swelled with a significant windfall of tax revenues, a surplus the governor put at $75.7 billion.

  • State officials said the cash payments were triggered in part by a 1979 voter-approved state constitutional amendment that requires tax rebates when revenues exceed a cap on government spending.

  • By law, half of that must go to public schools and the other half to taxpayer rebates — in this case, targeted toward middle-class adults and families. The budget windfall has been driven by strong capital gains on the investments earned by California's wealthiest taxpayers. The taxes paid by the top 1% of the state's earners have accounted for as much as half of all income tax revenue in some years.

  • Newsom is facing a recall election this fall over his handling of the COVID-19 crisis, including an aggressive shutdown of the economy.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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