The state of California has begun disbursing approximately six hundred thousand stimulus checks with a value of $354 million to eligible residents as part of the first batch of Golden State Stimulus II.
“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,” according to a statement from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office.
The next round of payments will be issued in about two weeks, with an exact date still not decided. After that, the stimulus payments will continue to head out every two weeks.
Helping Families Amid Pandemic
First proposed in May, the Golden State Stimulus II is an extension of a program that sent out payments to eligible individuals earning $30,000 and less in April. Under the current program, qualifying residents with incomes between $30,000 and $75,000 will receive a $600 stimulus check and qualifying families with children, including undocumented households, will collect an additional $500. Roughly two-thirds of the state’s total population can expect to receive some form of stimulus payment.
“The Golden State Stimulus is key to lifting up those hit hardest by the pandemic and supporting California’s economic recovery, putting money directly in the hands of folks who will spend it on basic needs and within their local communities,” Newsom said in a statement.
In all, the state is planning to distribute well over $10 billion total in direct stimulus payments to assist residents recover from the financial impacts of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“We know that direct payments are the fastest and most effective way to ensure support gets to families who need it most. Natalie Foster, the co-chair of the Economic Security Project, noted in a statement.
“As millions throughout the country continue to struggle to make ends meet, we applaud Governor Newsom’s unwavering leadership with the latest implementation of these checks. The data shows that this money will go directly into the pockets of those hardest hit by the pandemic and aid in our economic recovery,” she added.
Other States Jump In
With the White House and Congress not hinting at any more stimulus checks in the near future, several states like California have already issued and are in the process of disbursing their own stimulus payments.
For example, in Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan signed the $1 billion RELIEF Act of 2021 in February, which approved a $500 stimulus check to families and $300 to individuals who filed for the Earned Income Tax Credit.
In Florida, state lawmakers are using federal funds from President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan to send out $1,000 stimulus checks to teachers and educators in the state. Georgia, Michigan, and Tennessee also are giving out similar cash payments to those working in schools.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.