$600 checks coming to many residents under Newsom’s ‘California Comeback Plan,’ thanks to budget surplus

Today Governor Gavin Newsom unveiled his California Comeback Plan, which means two-thirds of Californians would receive $600 stimulus checks, and some families with children would get $1100 checks. Newsom also wants to help people cover child care costs and the rent they’ve fallen behind on. Plus, he’s proposed $2 billion to help cover Californian’s utility bills, and half of those funds would specifically go to water bills.

This is all happening as the state is projecting a $75 billion budget surplus. It’s a far cry from the $54 billion fiscal shortfall projected last year.

“It’s a remarkable turnaround. … I made the point at the State of the State a number of months ago: California's not coming back. California is going to come roaring back,” Newsom said at a press conference in Oakland. 

The boom is the result of California’s top earners doing financially well during the pandemic, says Nicole Nixon, politics reporter for Capital Public Radio. 

“Because of California's tax structure, higher earners pay more in income taxes. There's also a tax on capital gains. So when the stock market's doing well, California's budget is doing really well too.”

The governor’s proposal requires approval from the California State Legislature, but Nixon says the plan seems inclined to pass. That’s partly due to the budget chairman of the assembly and the budget chairwoman of the Senate being at the press conference.

“Normally, these budget proposals are gone over in negotiations with lawmakers, and not everything that the governor wants is able to make it out. But having those two very powerful lawmakers standing right beside him as he made this announcement, I think is a very good sign for Californians out there hoping to get their $600 check.”

This is just the beginning of announcements relating to Newsom’s recovery plan, Nixon points out. That includes a week-long rollout of various issues he plans to tackle, such as homelessness, wildfire preparedness, and education.