(KSEE/KGPE) – An $18.1 billion package to help reduce the impact of inflation on California residents was proposed by Governor Gavin Newsom on Thursday. The proposal includes tax refunds for eligible vehicle owners, rental assistance and money for hospital and nursing staff.
Newsom also announced that California’s minimum wage should increase to $15.50 an hour for all workers starting January 1, 2023 (a legally required increase when inflation is above 7%).
The proposal file includes:
- $11.5 billion in tax refunds to help fight inflation (in the form of the previously announced $400 checks to every registered vehicle owner)
- $2.7 billion in emergency rent assistance for low-income tenants
- $1.4 billion to help residents pay overdue electric and water bills
- $750 million to support free public transportation
- $304 million to expand health insurance premium assistance under Covered California for families of four earning $166,500 a year
- $439 million to suspend diesel sales tax for 12 months
- $157 million to remove child care fees for low-income families, benefiting 40,000 low-income families
In addition, $933 million has been earmarked for bonuses for workers in hospitals and skilled nursing facilities. The governor’s office says it would provide $1,500 to those who “provided the most acute patient care during the COVID-19 pandemic and saved thousands of lives.”
The investment in childcare and financial assistance for those using Covered California has been welcomed by Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly, describing them as investments that reflect the values from California.
“These investments will have a significant impact on the lives of Californians by making health care and childcare more affordable – while providing relief to the many people who struggled to afford the cost of energy during the pandemic.”
Dr. Marc Ghaly
In a statement, Newsom says the surplus is being used to help balance the high cost of inflation that continues to impact Californians.
“This inflation-fighting program will help offset the higher costs Californians are currently facing and provide support for those still recovering from the pandemic,” Newsom said.
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