On Wednesday, Governor Gavin Newsom announced a new budget proposal that would give low-income residents of the state $600 in stimulus money and would extend eviction protections further into 2021.
According to Governor Newsom’s proposal, known as Golden State Stimulus, around 4 million Californians would receive the $600 in stimulus money. The stimulus will come in the form of a refund for all taxpayers in the state who received a California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) in 2020. Taxpayers eligible to receive the CalEITC in 2021 will also receive the $600 refund. As all CalEITC beneficiaries currently make less than $30,000 per year, the number of taxpayers eligible for 2021 EITCs is expected to greatly increase due to the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.
The proposed refund would also apply to many illegal immigrants in California who did not receive federal stimulus money this month. Among those who would receive the money are Californians with Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN), which include those currently going through the immigration process and those from other countries that have children with U.S. citizenship.
Should the proposal be passed, refunds would go out in February and March.
Golden State Stimulus would also extend state eviction protections by extending Assembly Bill 3088. AB 3088, authored by Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco), was signed into law in August and formally extended the eviction moratorium until January 31st. It is currently not known when it would be extended to, but it is known that, like AB 3088’s original intent, it will only be temporary.
In addition, $2.6 billion in federal rental relief given to California would be dispersed under Golden State Stimulus, with low-income Californians and property owners who are financially struggling due to the pandemic expected to get some sort of relief. According to the Governor’s press release, no amount of estimated renter relief per person has been decided on yet.
Governor Newsom proposed the Golden State Stimulus this week to help combat worsening conditions for low-income Californians, especially those seeing greater financial hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic and statewide lockdown measures.
“Through the Golden State Stimulus, Californians who have been impacted by this pandemic will get help to provide for their families and keep a roof over their heads,” announced Governor Newsom on Wednesday. “This plan will provide relief for Californians in need by distributing $600 rapid cash support – for some, at least $1,200 when coupled with federal relief – and extend the eviction moratorium.”
Support, opposition from lawmakers, affected groups
Many lawmakers in Sacramento gave support to the Governor’s proposal on Wednesday and Thursday, specifically noting the additional support it would give low-income Californians.
“Too many families have been financially devastated by this pandemic including countless families in the Inland Empire,” said Assemblywoman Eloise Reyes (D-San Bernardino) on Wednesday. “We can and we must do more to provide assistance to get them through this difficult time, particularly those most impacted. The Golden State Stimulus will put $600 into the pockets of those who need it the most, and when added to federal relief, could mean $1200 in quick support for low-income Californians. We are proud to collaborate with the Governor on this important proposal.”
However, the proposal was also met with some opposition, with many landlord groups noting that this would hurt them even more.
“We were all getting ready for February 1st,” said Andy Tan, a Bay area landlord who currently is planning over a dozen evictions as soon as the moratorium was lifted, to the Globe. “But if this passes, it gets rid of that light at the end of the tunnel for us. A lot of us have some of the cheapest rents in the area, and we could easily get renters who actually pay to come here. I mean, we’ve lost out on months and months of rent from these people.”
“I know the moratorium is in place because of the pandemic, but all the thought seems to be going to renters and not landlords. We’re the ones shouldering the extra costs here. And for big firms with multiple properties, that may not be a big deal. But for smaller ones, especially those landlords that have one or two properties as a source of income for retirement, this is devastating. Plus, some of us have people taking advantage of the situation for free rent. That should be illegal, right? Well, not today it isn’t apparently.”
The Governor is expected to bring his 2021-2022 budget proposals, which also includes an additional $4 billion spending plan for COVID-19 that focuses mainly on electric cars, to the legislature on Friday. Should the Golden State Stimulus not pass, eviction moratoriums are set to end on January 31st.