As the COVID-19 pandemic approaches its one-year mark in the United States, Californians continue to face economic hardship due to the COVID-19 recession.
On Wednesday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom and state legislative leaders announced an immediate action agreement to provide a package of relief funds to those impacted by the recession.
The agreement was reached between Newsom, Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins and state Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, according to a press release from the governor’s press office. The agreement adds to the various initiatives in Newsom’s state budget proposal, including providing financial relief to lower-income state residents, increasing small business aid and providing small businesses license renewal fee waivers.
The press release added that the agreement also funds emergency financial aid for community college students, and provides supplemental resources for child care services and tax relief for businesses.
“People are hungry and hurting, and businesses our communities have loved for decades are at risk of closing their doors,” Atkins said in the press release. “We are at a critical moment, and I’m proud we were able to come together to get Californians some needed relief.”
Provisions of the agreement include a one-time $600 relief for low-income state residents and those who were not issued federal stimulus payments, $24 million in program funding for agricultural workers who have to quarantine due to the pandemic, up to $25,000 in grants for small businesses and $100 million in emergency financial aid for low-income students, among other provisions.
According to the press release, the agreement also provides about $6 million in application and outreach support for UC, Cal State University and community college students who are eligible for CalFresh.
The press release noted that Newsom and legislative leaders are continuing discussions of safe K-12 school reopening measures and how to address learning loss caused by the pandemic.
“As we continue to fight the pandemic and recover, I’m grateful for the Legislature’s partnership to provide urgent relief and support for California families and small businesses where it’s needed most,” Newsom said in the press release. “From child care, relief for small business owners, direct cash support to individuals, financial aid for community college students and more, these actions are critical for millions of Californians who embody the resilience of the California spirit.”