California Democrats Unveil $100 Billion Coronavirus Stimulus Plan. Here’s What’s In It

Top California Democrats announced on Monday a $100 billion stimulus plan that would borrow money from the federal government, expand tax credits for low-income Californians and offer help for small businesses in an attempt to prop up the state’s economy as the coronavirus-induced recession drags on.

The proposal, previewed with less detail two months ago, relies on a handful of tactics that members say will generate cash for California’s economy while securing services that benefit vulnerable residents.

Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood, endorsed the proposal Monday. The group also includes Senate Majority Leader Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, and Budget Committee leaders Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, and Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco.

“We must do all we can to help heal our economy, while ensuring that our solutions do not create further harm,” Atkins said in a press release

Here’s what the plan includes:

The plan would let Californians pre-pay their income taxes in exchange for future vouchers as a way to quickly collect billions of dollars to spur the economy.

California would borrow federal dollars to continue unemployment insurance benefits at risk of being cut.

Legislators want to expand the earned income tax credit for low-income workers and undocumented Californians with individual taxpayer identification number holders. Gov. Gavin Newsom for the first time in the 2020-2021 budget opened the tax benefit to undocumented immigrants with young children.

Finally, the economic package would prioritize California’s “green economy” by funneling money to wildfire mitigation strategies and combating climate change by providing new incentives for electric vehicles and energy-efficient buildings.

The plan arrives more than a month after the Legislature passed and Newsom signed a $202 billion budget that temporarily plugs a projected $54 billion deficit by deferring billions and using emergency federal money to shore up certain programs. Newsom and state lawmakers have urged Congress and the Trump administration to provide financial assistance to states, which would allow Califorria leaders to undo some spending cuts.

Republicans and Democrats in Washington, D.C., however, remain locked in disagreement over a new stimulus package, with opposing plans on unemployment insurance, funding for schools and COVID-19 testing support.

California’s unemployment rate stands at 14.9%, greater than at any time during the Great Recession.

“Millions of Californians are suffering in this economic downturn, and Republicans in Washington, D.C. don’t seem to care,” Rendon said via statement. “Assembly and Senate Democrats are advancing innovative proposals to help people and small businesses.”

California legislators have five weeks to pass hundreds of bills and tidy up the state budget before the end to the 2020 legislative session. The Democrats said they would collaborate with Newsom’s administration and the governor’s Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery ahead of an Aug. 31 legislative deadline.

Newsom said Monday during a press conference that he had not had a chance to review the plan “in any detail,” but said he expected an emphasis on equity and inclusion.

“We have to include a framework of bringing people along as we reopen our economy and as we grow our economy,” Newsom said.


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