California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday signed a $7.6 billion COVID-19 relief package into law that includes a round of direct payments for certain people.
Newsom, a Democrat, signed the package a day after the Democrat-controlled legislature passed it, and a week after he and legislative leaders reached an agreement on key provisions.
“This $7.6 billion of direct relief that we’re providing today not only helps support small businesses, but supports some 5.7 million Californians with direct stimulus check relief,” he said at a press conference before the signing.
The cost of the payments was estimated at $2.4 billion. The checks will go to people with incomes so low they received the California Earned Income Tax Credit last year and people with Individual Tax Identification Numbers, including illegal immigrants, who reside in households with an income level below $75,000.
According to the Migration Policy Institute, there were an estimated 2.6 illegal immigrants in the state as of 2018.
The new package will also deliver onetime $600 payments to households enrolled in the CalWORKS program and recipients of Supplemental Security Income and Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants.
The legislative package also includes two years of fee waivers for roughly 59,000 restaurants and bars, over $400 million for child care stipends, and more than $2 billion in small business grants.
The package is actually close to $10 billion, but the remaining chunk, designated for tax relief, is being considered by the state Legislature.
The entire grouping of provisions is “big, even by California standards,” acknowledged Newsom, who is facing a serious recall effort because of actions he’s taken to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 is the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
The package comes as Democrats in Washington ram through a fresh relief package that includes another round of checks for most Americans.
Republicans are being frozen out as Democrats use a budget process to pass a partisan package that also features a federal minimum wage hike and other measures opponents say should not be included.
Several rounds of stimulus payments have been sent out by the U.S. government, including $1,200 checks that were part of the last relief package, which was passed in December 2020 and signed by former President Donald Trump.
But those packages have limitations, such as not going to illegal aliens. California officials have said that population is among the hardest hit by the pandemic, and worked to provide relief to them.
“Our undocumented immigrant population has been especially affected as they remain ineligible for most social safety net programs,” California Assemblyman Miguel Santiago said in a recent statement. The checks “will provide critical aid for low-income families, including undocumented individuals,” he added.
While Republicans criticized the size of the package, some supported certain components.
Republican state Sen. Andreas Borgeas, a Republican, said Tuesday that “bipartisan work” resulted in the provisions delivering relief for small businesses.