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New California COVID Stimulus Package, Better Numbers, Reopening Schools

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Sacramento, CA – A new California stimulus relief package, movement into less restrictive tiers and a push to reopen schools.

A $7.6 billion coronavirus relief package was signed on Tuesday by Gov. Gavin Newsom, one day after it passed the state Legislature by a wide margin. The new laws will give at least $600 one-time payments to 5.7 million people while also setting aside more than $2 billion in grants for struggling small businesses. The package will give up to $25,000 grants to small businesses with revenues between $1,000 and $2.5 million.

“As millions of Californians are struggling to make ends meet amid the devastating impacts of this pandemic, we are taking immediate action in partnership with our legislative leadership to provide families and businesses the relief they need,” said Governor Newsom. “This critical assistance – including childcare, relief for small business owners, direct cash support to individuals and households, financial aid for community college students and more – will help keep our communities afloat as the state continues to confront the immense challenges of this moment.”

State lawmakers are targeting the money to reach the pockets of people who were left out of previous federal stimulus checks, including immigrants. Those eligible for the money should receive the funds between 45 days and 60 days after getting their state tax refunds, according to the Franchise Tax Board. Most people eligible will get the $600 payments by claiming the California earned income tax credit on their state tax returns. This generally covers people who earn $30,000 a year or less. How is the state paying for the stimulus, with nearly 40 million residents it has lots of wealthy people less impacted by the pandemic and who continue to pay taxes. That has resulted in an estimated $15 billion one-time surplus to spend this year, a number that could grow even higher later this year once more people file their tax returns.

Additionally, Newsom continues to insist that classrooms will reopen “very, very shortly.” For weeks, the governor has been working with lawmakers on a deal to reopen schools to salvage what is left of this academic year. At a news conference yesterday, he stated a deal is being negotiated, which he hopes to announce soon. Newsom would not say whether he would consider forcing schools to reopen or use his emergency powers to suspend local bargaining if teachers refuse to go back to school without being vaccinated first.

And after months with little change, also on Tuesday five of California’s 58 counties have advanced to a lower tier with fewer business restrictions. The change allows restaurants to reopen for limited indoor dining, while fitness centers, movie theaters, and museums are among those that can reopen indoors with safeguards. The five include Marin and San Mateo counties in the Bay Area,  and more rural counties Humboldt, Shasta and Yolo. Newsom says another eight counties are likely to move to new tiers next week.

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