California Governor Gavin Newsom recently presented his $100 billion California Comeback Plan, the biggest economic recovery package in California history. The Governor’s Plan outlines comprehensive strategies and major investments in key areas so that California can come roaring back from the pandemic.
The California Comeback Plan has one goal: hit fast forward on the state’s recovery by directly confronting California’s most stubborn challenges. Those challenges are listed as: providing immediate relief for those hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic; confronting the homelessness and housing affordability crisis; transforming public schools into gateways for opportunity; building infrastructure for the next century; and combating wildfires and tackling climate change.
“Every Californian has been impacted by this pandemic, and the sacrifices we’ve all made this past year have resulted in a historic surplus – I’m here to announce that we’re investing it in you,” said Governor Newsom. “California’s economic recovery will leave nobody behind, that’s why we’re implementing the nation’s largest state tax rebate and small business relief programs in history, on top of unprecedented investments we’re making to address California’s most persistent challenges. This is a jumpstart for our local economies, and it’s how we’ll bring California roaring back.”
The California Comeback Plan outlines comprehensive strategies and major investments in several areas of focus.
Immediate Relief For Families, Small Businesses
The Plan will create the biggest state tax rebate in American history, including an additional $8.1 billion in stimulus checks – for a total of nearly $12 billion – 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 dependents, including undocumented families, will be eligible for an additional $500.
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 a massive $6.2 billion tax cut – 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.
Under Governor Newsom’s Plan, California will offer the strongest renter assistance package of any state in America. The Plan will provide a total of $5.2 billion to help low-income renters pay 100 percent of their back-rent, and all of their rent for several months into the future.
The Plan provides $1 billion in new grants to workers who lost their jobs during the pandemic, giving California’s workforce critically-needed opportunities to earn and learn, go back to school, or start their own business. It also includes Universal Basic Income pilot programs.
Confronting Homelessness And Housing Affordability
The Governor’s Plan will invest $12 billion to tackle the homelessness crisis, helping more than 65,000 people get off the streets or avoid homelessness altogether. The Plan reaches the most vulnerable by rebuilding the behavioral health housing system that has been dismantled over decades. It also comes with new accountability measures to ensure local governments are spending the money effectively.
Under the Plan, California will seek to achieve functional zero on family homelessness within five years through a new $3.5 billion investment in homeless prevention, rental support through CalWORKs and new housing opportunities for people at risk of homelessness.
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. The Governor’s Plan calls for partnering with local governments to clean litter, commission public art and revitalize downtowns, freeways and neighborhoods across California.
Combating Wildfires, Tackling Climate Change
The Plan will make the single largest investment in wildfire preparedness in our state’s history – $2 billion in emergency preparedness investments. It includes purchasing new firefighting equipment like airplanes and helicopters, as well as investments in land and forest management projects that save lives.
California is leading the nation in tackling climate change head-on, including a $3.2 billion package to accelerate California’s zero-emission vehicle goals, leading to cleaner air for future generations. It also includes a $1.3 billion investment to prepare for extreme heat, sea level rise and environmental justice priorities like oil well capping, toxic site clean-up and pollution control.
The Plan invests $5.1 billion in drought support, water supply and natural landscape projects around the state as well as an additional $1 billion in direct aid for Californians who have past-due water bills.
Transforming Public Schools Into Gateways For Opportunity
Under the Plan, public schools in low-income neighborhoods can fundamentally transform into the kind of complete campus every parent would want for their child – with before- and after-school instruction, sports and arts, personalized tutoring, nurses and counselors and nutrition – paired with new preventative behavioral health services for every kid in California.
California will finally achieve universal pre-school, providing high-quality, free transitional kindergarten to all four-year-olds in California. The California Comeback Plan also adds 100,000 child care slots to support caregivers.
The plan will make college more affordable and accessible than ever before by driving down the cost of attendance, including drastically cutting the cost of student housing and working to reduce the cost of textbooks.
Infrastructure For The Next Century
Taking on the digital divide, the Plan advances the state’s work toward universal broadband with a $7 billion investment to expand broadband infrastructure and to increase access and achieve affordability. The Plan will help build out a statewide middle mile network for improved access in underserved regions, including rural areas, and allows local governments and Tribes to access last mile funding, which connects broadband to the home.
Creating A Modern Transportation System
The California Comeback Plan includes an $11 billion investment to build a modernized and sustainable transportation system for the next century – roads, bridges, high-speed rail, ports and public transportation, including projects for the 2028 Olympics.
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 12 months ago. Additional details on the Governor’s Plan can be found at www.ebudget.ca.gov.