"This time last year, we announced. $54.3 billion projected shortfall. Today we area announcing a projected $75.7 billion budget surplus. It's a remarkable turn-around. We talk about California coming back. I made the point in the State of the State several months ago that California's not coming back, California's gonna come roaring back. $75.7 billion operating budget surplus."
"Today, we are announcing $12 billion tax rebate to the people of the state of California earning up to $75,000. Let me put that in perspective. That tax rebate will impact just shy of 80% of all tax filers will get a direct stimulus check, will get a direct relief payment because of this announcement. Two-thirds of all Californians will benefit from this stimulus."
"This is all on the basis of the recovery that California is already experiencing. It's on the basis of the revenue that's coming in in historic terms in the state of California. And that's because we are defeating, and we are successfully applying strategies to address this pandemic."
Millions of poor and middle-class Californians would get tax rebates of up to $1,100 under a proposal unveiled Monday by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, as part of a broader pandemic recovery plan made possible by an eye-popping $75 billion budget surplus.
Individuals and households making between $30,000 and $75,000 a year would get a $600 payment. All households making up to $75,000 with at least one child, including immigrants in the country illegally who file taxes, would get an extra $500 payment.
The massive budget surplus is largely due to taxes paid by rich Californians who generally did well during the pandemic, and marks a major turnaround after officials last year said they feared a deficit of more than $50 billion.
The payments will total an estimated $8.1 billion, said H.D. Palmer, a spokesman for the state Department of Finance. The proposal also includes $5.2 billion to pay back rent and $2 billion for overdue utility bills for people who fell behind during the pandemic.
A law passed by voters in the 1970s requires the state to give some money back to taxpayers if the surplus hits a certain limit. The state estimates it will be $16 billion over that threshold. Newsom does not have to act immediately, but is choosing to do tax rebates now, Palmer said.
They are part of what Newsom is calling a $100 billion plan to drive up the state's economic recovery. He'll be rolling out details of the plan all week ahead of releasing his revised state budget. The chairs of the state Senate and Assembly budget committees joined Newsom, indicating their support for a proposal that will go before overwhelmingly Democratic Legislature.
It comes as he faces a likely recall election later this year, and his Republican rivals quickly criticized the effort.
It's the second round of cash payments given by the state in response to the pandemic. Earlier this year, people making less than $30,000 got a $600 payment. Immigrants making up to $75,000 who file taxes, including those also living in the country illegally, also got the check. State officials chose a higher eligibility limit for those people because they didn't get federal stimulus checks.
All combined, the state would spend $11.9 billion on direct cash payments.
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