Federal stimulus checks may be a thing of the past, but some states are moving forward with stimulus programs of their own. During its current legislative session, Minnesota is weighing the idea of direct checks, paid for out of the state’s budget surplus.
But the state perhaps doing the most with the state-level stimulus is California. It has already passed both the “Golden State Stimulus” and “Golden State Stimulus II.”
“The Golden State Stimulus programs provide rapid cash support to millions [of] low and middle-income Californians,” the stimulus website says. “There are two different Golden State Stimulus. You may qualify for one or both.”
Now, a new report says California may be eyeing additional stimulus.
According to Fox 5 in San Diego, Republican State Senator Brian Jones made the case for more stimulus, in a video in which he made his argument with grains of rice.
“If each grain of rice is $100,000, that means California’s $45 billion surplus is taxes over-collected by this much,” Jones said in the video, which adds that California could give back $1,125 to each person in the state.
It’s echoing a common argument by elected officials, arguing that budget surpluses represent an “overcharging” of the taxpayer.
Gov. Gavin Newsom has also expressed interest in more money going out to taxpayers.
“Yes, there likely will be substantial contributions back to the taxpayers. What form they come in, we’ll work with the Legislature, and to what degree will be determined more closely in May,” Newsom said, per the Fox 5 report. The governor had projected a $45.7 billion budget surplus, but it could end up even higher, the report said.
Make Your Own Budget
The website Cal Matters has a “game” in which users can enter their own plan for spending the state budget surplus and which priorities to emphasize while doing so.
“Rejigger the state’s general fund tax and spending priorities to your liking. We’ve provided just a sampling of all the possibilities out there — let us know if there’s something we really should have included but didn’t.”
No Federal Support
While stimulus checks came out from the federal government in 2020 and 2021, it’s unlikely more will arrive in the near future. Neither the White House nor the leaders in Congress have prioritized the idea of more stimulus; there is less of an economic emergency today than during the earlier parts of the pandemic, and concerns about inflation have made lawmakers skittish about putting more money directly into people’s pockets.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist, and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.