California’s budget surplus totals a whopping $76 billion. California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who is facing a recall election in the fall, has proposed to use the surplus for tax rebates of up to $1,100 for millions of households. Newsom also plans to allocate over $7 billion for pandemic relief efforts.

Newsom has issued a series of pandemic recovery proposals in the past week. All of his proposals total $100 billion.

However, not everyone backs Newsom’s proposals, saying that the state would be better off with broader tax reforms. Kevin Faulconer, the former mayor of San Diego, said, “One time payments for just one year isn’t enough, not nearly enough. We need permanent, lasting tax relief for middle-class families.”

Additionally, some have pushed back against Newsom by arguing that his plan may not comply with the state law that limits how much the government can spend.

Newsom spoke at a community organization in Oakland, stating that “direct stimulus checks going into people’s pockets and direct relief — that’s meaningful.”

Eleven million low- and middle-income Californians would receive direct, one-time payments under Newsom’s plan. Taxpayers with a yearly income between $30,000 and $75,000 would get a $600 payment. Households that make up to $75,000 with at least one child would get an extra $500.

The direct payments would total $8.1 billion. Newsom’s proposal would also allocate $5.2 billion for rent debt and future payments as well as $2 billion for overdue utility bills.

“We believe people are better suited than we are to make determinations for themselves on how best to use these dollars,” Newsom said.

The projected $75.7 billion budget surplus is due to wealthy Californians who fared well during the pandemic. The surplus, in many ways, has defied expectations, as officials were preparing to see deficits as large as $50 billion.

Still, many seem to believe that Newsom’s plan will, overall, help those who have been struggling the most due to the pandemic.

Democratic Assemblyman Phil Ting said, “That budget surplus is going right back to the most vulnerable Californians, the ones who need help the most.”

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