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California expects another bumper budget surplus allowing the state to take steps to ease the hardship residents are experiencing due to higher living costs. A group of measures is directed at alleviating the rising cost of getting around in the Golden State included in a $18.1 billion inflation relief package.
In a proposal put forward by Democrats and supported by Republicans, car owners could be set to receive at least $400 gas checks. Republicans had been pushing for a gas tax holiday for the state that tacks the most additional cost on filling up in the US, which is set to rise again to 53.9 cents per gallon 1 July.
Although the tax will remain on gasoline, Newsom proposed a 12-month pause in the diesel fuel sales tax rate. Those who rely on public transport could get three months of free rides through a grant system to communities throughout the state.
The biggest ticket item on his relief plan for Golden Staters is the $400 gas check scheme costing $11.5 billion. Registered vehicle owners will be eligible for up to two checks per person. The soonest people could receive the money is in September according to officials with the Governor’s office.
$18.1 Billion Inflation Relief in direct payments to help address inflation
The California Blueprint, the Governor’s $300.7 Billion proposal to pave “the California Way forward to prosperity and progress for all,” also includes a raft of other measures to alleviate hardship from inflation. The proposals build off of last year’s Golden State Stimulus measures.
“Backed by a robust surplus and grounded in our unshakable values, we’re paving the California Way forward to prosperity and progress for all. With historic investments, we’re doubling down on our formula for success and making sure no one is left behind – supporting working families and businesses, tackling climate change, expanding health care access, making our communities safer, and more,” said Governor Newsom.
For low-income tenants that requested rental assistance before 31 March and qualified there is a proposal to direct $2.7 billion in funds to help them stay in their homes. The utility relief program from last year will be expanded with an additional $1.2 billion for electricity bills and $200 million for water bills.
Childcare at state-subsidized preschool and childcare facilities will be made more affordable for low-income families with $157 million in childcare fee waivers. This could result in savings of up to $7,140 per year for around 40,000 families in the Golden State.
More affordable healthcare under Covered California
Health insurance premium assistance under Covered California will be extended to middle-class families. Newsom proposes an annual subsidy of $3,852 to eligible individuals and $7,400 to eligible families of four.
$1,500 to hospital and nursing home staff
The Governor’s budget also sets aside $933 Million to provide payments of up to $1,500 that will go to healthcare workers for their efforts during the covid-19 pandemic which saved thousands of lives. Hospital and skilled nursing facility workers and doctors who have been caring for the most acute patients will receive this token of the state’s gratitude.