Key Point: The California Legislature passed a $262.6 billion budget bill last week that set aside funds for a second round of $600 stimulus payments as the state found itself with a massive budget surplus and a bundle of federal aid this year.
The legislation includes a combination of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) proposed budget bill and the legislature’s measure, and among the largest of the approved programs was the $12 billion for the expansion of the Golden State Stimulus, which sends eligible recipients $600 direct payments.
California residents must be earning $75,000 or less in adjusted gross income to qualify for the money.
“Direct stimulus checks going into people’s pockets and direct relief—that’s meaningful,” Newsom said during a visit in Oakland, California, in May.
The bill also allows for families with children to receive $500, and undocumented families are also expected to get $500.
Nearly $1.5 billion in small business grants were allocated for the measure, enabling businesses to receive between $5,000 and $25,000.
Legislative leaders from both sides of the aisle, however, held different reactions after the bill was approved.
“This budget does not get us back to normal, as that was not our intent,” Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula (D) from Fresno, Calif. said last week. “Instead, it gets us to a better place by making transformative change for Californians.”
“With this budget today, we are building a future,” Assemblyman Jose Medina (D) from Riverside, Calif. said in a tweet. “We are creating opportunities for our most underserved students—we are making education and growth accessible to all.”
Several Republicans sounded the alarm over the bill, arguing that many of the state’s departments would be back to operating deficits by the 2022 to 2023 budget year.
“B.S. budget, round 3,” State Sen. Scott Wilk (R) from Santa Clarita, Calif. said in a statement last week. “The governor again invests in himself with Band-Aids and buyoffs that sweep real problems under the rug. Senate Republicans proposed logical solutions that would have helped ordinary Californians by saving businesses, protecting jobs, reforming EDD, establishing a Gas Tax Holiday, and bringing accountability to wildfire.”
It’s unclear when the payments will start going out, though the California Franchise Tax Board (CFTB) has stated that they will release information to residents once state leaders offer guidance on the newly passed measure.
The $600 payments will be based on the tax information provided to the IRS this year. And for those who did not file taxes, the state has suggested filing a return to ensure that they will get the state-level relief.
While taxes were officially due nearly two months ago, the state pushed its tax filing deadline to Oct. 15.
If California residents already filed a tax return, then they do not have to file again to receive the money.
Rachel Bucchino is a reporter at the National Interest. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report and The Hill.