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Newsom Proposes $600 Cash Payments for Low-Income Californians

Courtesy photo by Neal E. Johnson on Unsplash

Calls for extension of eviction moratorium 

As millions of Californians struggle to make ends meet as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Gavin Newsom on Wednesday proposed giving low-income Californians a $600 stimulus and called to extend the state’s eviction moratorium.

The Golden State Stimulus would provide a $600 rapid cash support directly to roughly four million low-income Californians who, coupled with federal stimulus, could receive at least $1,200 of direct relief. The state’s stimulus will also reach low-income Californians who are excluded from the federal stimulus, like undocumented households that file taxes with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), including parents with U.S. citizen children.

The governor is calling for immediate action to protect more Californians from eviction by extending critical eviction protections enacted by AB 3088 and ensuring that California’s $2.6 billion share of federal rental assistance is distributed according to greatest need and with accountability.

“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,” Newsom said in a statement. “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.”

Golden State Stimulus

The Golden State Stimulus would refund $600 to all 2019 taxpayers who received a California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) in 2020, as well as to 2020 taxpayers with Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) who are eligible for and receive the CalEITC in 2021. Californians with annual incomes of $30,000 or less may be eligible for the CalEITC.

According to the state, focusing on CalEITC recipients allows for a “timely identification of and distribution to the population that likely started 2020 with few financial resources and disproportionately lost their jobs or work hours during the pandemic.”

The payments would be sent out to tax year 2019 CalEITC recipients in February and March 2021. ITIN taxpayers, who are newly eligible for the CalEITC, would receive the additional tax refund after they file their 2020 tax return, typically in February through April of 2021.

The timing of these refunds is meant to immediately help low-income households with expenses like food and rent. Last year, nearly 3.9 million CalEITC tax returns were filed, and the program put $1.1 billion back in the pockets of hardworking Californians.

Eviction Moratorium Extension

In August, the Legislature passed AB 3088, a temporary statewide eviction moratorium that expires on Jan. 31. 

The governor is proposing that the state deploy all $2.6 billion in federal renter relief — $1.4 billion of which is allocated directly to the state and $1.2 billion of which is allocated to entitlement jurisdictions — all targeting low-income California households, while helping stabilize small property owners. Newsom is also proposing that the AB 3088 eviction moratorium be extended.

Under this proposal, California renters who are experiencing financial hardship related to the COVID-19 pandemic and pay at least 25% of their monthly rent cannot be evicted for unpaid rent.

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