SACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — This week, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 129, legislation that reflects the majority of the 2021-22 state budget agreement. This transformative budget includes the biggest economic recovery package in California’s history – a $100 billion California Comeback Plan.
The California Comeback Plan focuses on providing relief to those that need it most and major investments to address the state’s most persistent challenges. The Plan provides immediate cash relief to middle class families and businesses hit hardest by the pandemic, creating the biggest state tax rebate in American history and the largest small business relief package in the nation.
“Harnessing the largest surplus in state history, we’re making transformative investments across the board that will help bring all our communities roaring back from the pandemic – and pay dividends for generations to come,” said Governor Newsom.
“Through this comprehensive plan, the state is taking on the inequities laid bare by the pandemic, expanding our support for Californians facing the greatest hardships, increasing opportunity for every child, confronting homelessness head-on and doubling down on our work to build resilience against the climate change impacts that threaten California’s future. I thank Pro Tem Atkins, Speaker Rendon and both houses of the Legislature for their incredible partnership in meeting the unprecedented challenge and opportunity of this moment.”
Fueled by a resurgent economy, a surge in state revenues and additional federal recovery funds, the $75.7 billion surplus reflected in the California Comeback Plan stands in stark contrast to the $54.3 billion budget shortfall estimated just over a year ago. The budget is built on a strong fiscal foundation that includes over $25 billion in reserves, pays off educational deferrals and continues to pay down long-term retirement debts. It also appropriately prioritizes one-time spending over ongoing, allocating 85 percent of discretionary funds to one-time spending.
Governor Newsom believes California can’t go back to normal, because normal was never good enough. In directly confronting our most stubborn challenges, the California Comeback Plan accelerates the state’s recovery by:
- Providing immediate relief to Californians hit hardest by the pandemic
- Confronting homelessness and the housing affordability crisis
- Transforming public schools into gateways of opportunity
- Bolstering wildfire resilience and tackling climate change
- Building the infrastructure of the next century
California can now seize this once-in-a-lifetime moment to address long-standing challenges that threaten our state’s future and ensure every California family – regardless of their race or zip code – can thrive.
Immediate Relief for California’s Families and Small Businesses
2 out of every 3 Californians get Golden State Stimulus checks: The Plan creates the biggest state tax rebate in American history, expanding direct payments to middle class families for a total of $12 billion in stimulus payments that will go directly to middle class Californians and families. Nearly two thirds of Californians will now qualify for a stimulus check of $600. Qualified families with kids will receive an additional $500.
Largest statewide renter assistance program in the country: Under the Governor’s Plan, California is offering the largest renter assistance package of any state in America. The Plan provides a total of $5.2 billion to help low-income renters and landlords, covering 100 percent of back-rent and all prospective rent for several months into the future. The Plan also includes $2 billion for past-due water and utility bills and more money than ever for tenant legal assistance.
Largest small businesses relief program in the nation: The Plan invests an additional $1.5 billion for a total of $4 billion in direct grants to California’s small businesses – on top of $6.2 billion in tax relief – putting more money directly into the pockets of hundreds of thousands of small business owners and helping them re-hire workers displaced by the pandemic. The Plan also creates a $120 million California Competes Tax Credit grant program to incentivize businesses to relocate to the state.
Confronting Homelessness and the Housing Affordability Crisis
Confronting homelessness at historic levels: The Comeback Plan invests roughly $12 billion over two years to tackle the homelessness crisis, the largest such investment in state history. The multi-pronged approach will help tens of thousands of people get off the streets or avoid homelessness altogether through the creation of 42,000 new homeless housing units, including housing options for people with severe mental health challenges. These investments include:
- Expanding Homekey and rebuilding California’s mental health system: The Plan includes almost $6 billion to add 42,000 new housing units through Homekey – California’s groundbreaking national model for homeless housing. $2.2 billion of this investment is dedicated to housing for people with the most acute mental health needs and those needing conservatorships. Governor Newsom’s investment is the biggest expansion in decades in terms of clinically enhanced behavioral health housing.
- Humane encampment strategy: The California Comeback Plan includes targeted programs and grants to local governments to move people out of unsafe, unhealthy encampments and into safer, more stable housing.
Cleaning California’s streets: In addition to the investments addressing homelessness, the Governor’s Plan includes $1.1 billion to clean up the streets of California by partnering with local governments to pick up trash and beautify downtowns, freeways and neighborhoods across California. The program is expected to generate up to 11,000 jobs over three years.
More funding for new affordable housing than ever before: The California Comeback Plan tackles housing affordability head-on: it will put over $3 billion into building more affordable housing for low-income families and creates homeownership opportunities to help restore the California Dream.
Transforming Public Schools into Gateways of Opportunity
Transforming schools into gateways of opportunity: Under the California Comeback Plan, the state will invest more than ever before in our public schools. Public schools in low-income neighborhoods will be able to fundamentally transform into the kind of complete campus every parent would want for their child: smaller class sizes, before- and after-school instruction, sports and arts, personalized tutoring, nurses and counselors and free school nutrition – paired with new preventative behavioral health services for every kid in California.
Finally achieving universal Pre-K: Under the Governor’s Plan, California will finally achieve universal pre-school, providing high-quality, free transitional kindergarten to all four-year-olds in California, regardless of income or immigrations status. The Plan also adds 200,000 subsidized child care slots over the next several years — increasing access and bringing down the cost of child care for many.
3.7 million kids to get college savings accounts: The California Comeback Plan creates college savings accounts for 3.7 million low-income children in public school, making college more attainable than ever before.
Making higher education more accessible than ever before: The Governor’s Plan will make college more affordable and accessible than ever before by increasing in-state tuition slots for Californians that want to attend a CSU or UC school, expanding financial aid systems for middle-class students and driving down the cost of attending college, cutting student housing costs and reducing the cost of textbooks.
Bolstering Wildfire Resilience and Taking Nation-Leading Climate Action
Doing more than ever before to combat and prepare for wildfires: The Governor’s Plan will make the single largest investment in wildfire and emergency preparedness in our state’s history – investing more than $2 billion. The Plan includes purchasing new firefighting equipment like airplanes and helicopters, as well as investments in land and forest management projects that save lives and protect communities.
Nation-leading climate action: Climate change is here, and California is leading the nation in tackling it head-on. The California Comeback Plan includes a $3.9 billion package to hit fast-forward on our zero-emissions vehicle goals, leading to cleaner air for future generations. In addition, the Administration continues work with the Legislature to allocate $3.7 billion over three years that will better prepare the state for extreme heat and sea level rise and address environmental justice priorities that support the low-income and disadvantaged communities bearing the brunt of climate change impacts.
Building the Infrastructure of the Next Century
Water resilience and drought response: Climate change is making droughts more common and more severe. The Governor’s Plan invests $5.1 billion over four years in drought support, water supply and natural habitat restoration projects around the state to build climate resilience in the face of more extreme cycles of wet and dry.
Working to build a 22nd century electric grid: The Administration continues work with the Legislature to build a cleaner, more resilient and reliable 22nd century electric grid amid record-breaking temperatures driven by climate change.
Expanding broadband access: It’s time to stop talking about closing the digital divide and finally do it. Through a $6 billion investment, more Californians will be able to access broadband coverage through the construction of an open access middle mile and last mile projects that connect unserved households in remote areas to the middle mile.
In addition, the Administration continues work with the Legislature to advance investments to build a modernized and sustainable transportation system, including funding for the state’s public transportation system and high-speed rail.
The budget and related budget-implementing legislation signed by the Governor today include:
- AB 141 by the Committee on Budget – Budget Act of 2021: Department of Cannabis Control: licensure: safety and quality assurance.
- SB 129 by Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) – Budget Act of 2021. A line-item veto can be found here.
- SB 139 by the Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review – Golden State Stimulus II: Golden State Stimulus.
- SB 146 by the Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review – Correctional facilities.
- SB 151 by the Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review – Economic development.
- SB 158 by the Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review – Hazardous waste.