California's budget includes financial aid and eviction protections. - Africa News Quick
  • July 13, 2021

California’s budget includes financial aid and eviction protections.

As California emerges from the pandemic, state leaders have approved a $ 100 billion plan to spur recovery, with checks written for rent relief, state stimulus payments and business grants.

On Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom capped a series of recent moves on what he calls his plan to return to California by signing budget legislation that will trigger a massive distribution of cash to struggling residents and businesses.

“Building on the largest surplus in state history, we are making transformative investments across the board that will help all of our communities recover from the pandemic and pay dividends for generations to come,” Newsom said in a statement.

The budget will help the recovery by “providing stimulus checks to middle-class Californians and immediate relief for small businesses,” among other initiatives, according to the governor and legislative leaders.

A number of additional measures are expected to get final approval in the coming days, including a program that would provide $ 500 savings accounts for children from low-income families.

The six budget bills signed by the governor Monday include one that expands the Golden State Stimulus program to provide checks of $ 600 to California taxpayers who earn up to $ 75,000 a year. Another recently signed measure will provide micro grants of up to $ 10,000 to boost small business start-ups, as well as direct relief to existing micro-businesses.

Newsom also recently signed legislation that extends eviction protections for three months through September 30 and doubles the amount of rent relief available to $ 5.2 billion, allowing 100% of the back rent for tenants of low income.

The funding was approved as part of a $ 262.6 billion state budget that is overwhelmed with a $ 76 billion surplus made possible by a windfall of high-income tax dollars, on top of the $ 27,000. million that the state is receiving from the United States Federal Rescue Plan.

State agencies are now scrambling to get the money just weeks after the state lifted COVID-19-related restrictions on most businesses that were imposed more than a year ago.

The timing couldn’t be better politically for Newsom, who faces an impending recall, according to emeritus political science professor Larry Gerston at San Jose State University.

“This is a windfall not only for the state, but particularly for the governor,” Gerston said. “At a time when he is facing a voter withdrawal from office, he has packages for the unemployed, renters, small businesses and public education – all of whom were impacted in various ways by the pandemic.”

State stimulus controls

The budget expands on Golden State’s stimulus plan first launched in February when checks for $ 600 were sent to people making $ 30,000 or less, as well as immigrants in the country illegally who have taxpayer identification numbers.

So far, more than 3.6 million payments have been made for a total value of nearly $ 2.3 billion, authorities said last week.

The expansion provides checks of $ 600 to California taxpayers earning up to $ 75,000, as well as an additional $ 500 to families with children, for which some households could receive $ 1,100. Additionally, the program will provide payments of $ 500 to immigrant families in the country illegally.

The new and old programs together will provide $ 11.8 billion to 15.2 California households, state officials estimate.

People earning more than $ 30,000 who have filed their 2020 taxes will begin receiving their state stimulus checks in September, authorities said.

Eviction protections and rent relief

Californians who pay at least 25% of their monthly rent cannot be evicted for non-payment until Sept. 30 under eviction protections that the governor recently signed into law.

Previously, the state provided $ 2.6 billion, and landlords would get 80% of the back rent paid by the state if they forgave the other 20%, while tenants would get 25% of their back rent in cases where landlords will not participate in the program. .

Under the recently approved $ 5.2 billion expansion, tenants who self-certify that they suffered financial hardship due to the pandemic can have the state pay 100% of their rent due from April 2020, as well as rent through September 30th. as long as there is money available.

If landlords refuse to participate, the state will pay the back rent directly to the tenants so they can pay the bill. After October 1, landlords cannot go to court to request an eviction before allowing the tenant to apply for a rent waiver.

The rent relief program is available to tenants who represent up to 80% of the area median income, which is set by the federal government. The limit would be $ 94,600 for a family of four living in Los Angeles County outside of the city of Los Angeles.

The aid money is being provided by the state, as well as counties and cities, and applications are already being accepted under the old program.

Those who have already applied for rent relief under the previous program will automatically increase their assistance to the new level of 100%, state officials said. New applications will eventually get 100% relief.

The state is also providing $ 2 billion to help low-income Californians pay their past-due water and utility bills. Another $ 80 million will be provided for legal assistance to help renters and homeowners facing eviction or foreclosure.

Commercial assistance

Earlier this year, the state approved $ 2.6 billion to award grants of $ 5,000 to $ 25,000 to small businesses that fought through the pandemic. So far, some 200,000 companies have been funded.

The governor signed legislation that includes $ 1.5 billion in new money for the program, which is expected to help 150,000 more small businesses.

Competitive grants are available to businesses with an annual gross income of up to $ 2.5 million, and applications are accepted by the California Office of the Small Business Advocate, which is intended to ensure that money is distributed to all parties. state and people-owned businesses. color.

A companion measure advancing through the Legislature also includes a new $ 35 million Dream Fund program to award grants of up to $ 10,000 to boost entrepreneurship and small business creation “in underserved small business groups facing income gaps. opportunities, “according to the bill.

Legislators and the governor also agreed to create a $ 120 million CalCompetes program to provide grants to businesses that establish at least 500 net new jobs, make a $ 10 million investment, or agree to locate in an area of ​​the state with high levels of poverty. or unemployment.

Additionally, the legislation would provide $ 150 million in financial relief grants to event companies, including theaters, concert halls and minor league sports teams that were closed to the live public during the pandemic.

Immigrants

One of the most important budget initiatives, AB 133, is still awaiting legislative action and would provide health care coverage to low-income individuals 50 and older living in the country illegally, an initiative that will eventually cost $ 1.3 billion a year.

That is an expansion of the current law that provides Medi-Cal for immigrants in the country without papers if they are under the age of 26.

Newsom originally proposed that the expansion be limited to those aged 60 and over, but the Legislature negotiated a broader approach, reaching those aged 50 and over. The measure still requires the approval of the Legislature.

The governor’s signature on another bill starts the process to eventually provide food assistance CalFresh, the state’s food stamp program, to low-income people who are currently ineligible due to immigration status. The first applications will be approved in 2023.

Kids

A budget proposal awaiting final legislative action includes $ 1.9 billion to create $ 500 savings accounts for some 3.8 million children from low-income households in grades one through 12. The money is intended to enable families to of children begin to build finances for college.

In the future, the program will provide eligible children with savings accounts when they enter first grade through the California Children’s Investment and Development Savings Program, or CalKIDS.

Another $ 15.3 million was approved to support CalKIDS accounts for children at birth.

The budget also launches the Universal School Meals Program, which provides more than $ 700 million over the next two years to cover the costs of providing breakfast and lunch for all students.

State leaders also approved money to provide child care for an additional 200,000 children, which will be phased in over the next four years.

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