(Reuters) -California Governor Gavin Newsom on Wednesday proposed giving $600 in stimulus cash support to millions of low-income residents and extending an eviction moratorium to ease financial strain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Newsom included the cash support in a 2021-2022 budget proposal and would go to people who qualify for a California Earned Income Tax Credit, with annual incomes of $30,000 or less, according to the governor’s office.
The proposed state-furnished assistance would be in addition to the $600 federal stimulus checks approved by Congress for most Americans in December.
As many as 4 million Californians, which has emerged as one of the hardest-hit hot spots for coronavirus infections in recent weeks, would be eligible to receive the state checks, Newsom said.
“Through the Golden State Stimulus, Californians who have been impacted by this pandemic will get help to provide for their families and keep a roof over their heads,” Newsom said in a statement.
“This plan will provide relief for Californians in need by distributing $600 rapid cash support – for some, at least $1,200 when coupled with federal relief – and extend the eviction moratorium,” he said.
The moratorium was set to expire at the end of the month. In addition to extending it for residents who pay at least 25% of their monthly rent, Newsom proposed immediately earmarking $2.6 billion which the state received in federal renter relief to protect low-income residents.
California, the most populous U.S. state with about 40 million, has nearly 2.4 million coronavirus cases despite some of the country’s toughest restrictions on socializing and businesses.
The soaring COVID-19 case load has pushed hospitals to their limits, particularly in Southern California. More than 31,000 new cases were confirmed on Monday alone in California, along with 368 additional deaths, raising the number of lives lost to date statewide to 27,000.
(Reporting by Gabriella Borter; Additional reporting by Steve GormanEditing by Alistair Bell, Steve Orlofsky and Grant McCool)