Gov. Gavin Newsom
Gov. Gavin Newsom outlines his stimulus plan on Monday. Photo courtesy of the governor’s office

Nearly two-thirds of residents in Southern California and across the state would receive $600 stimulus checks under a plan announced Monday by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

In addition, families with children — including the undocumented — would be eligible for an extra $500.

The Governor’s office described the plan as the largest state tax rebate in American history.

“We are tripling the Golden State Stimulus to get money in the hands of more middle-class Californians who have been hit hard by this pandemic,” Newsom said. “Two in three Californians will receive a check from the state and more than $5 billion in aid will be made available to those who need help paying their rent or utility bills.”

The payments are being proposed in response to what Newsom estimated would be a record $75.7 billion state budget surplus.

In addition to the direct stimulus payments, Newsom also proposed $5 billion to assist renters who have fallen behind in their payments, and another $2 billion to cover utility bills that residents hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic have struggled to pay.

The stimulus payments would be directed to families earning under $75,000.

This would be the second round on state stimulus checks. In February, Newsom signed legislation to send $600 checks to residents earning $30,000 a year or less.

The Governor’s new proposal needs to be approved by the state Legislature.

Kevin Faulconer, the Republican former San Diego mayor who has been spearheading the recall effort against Newsom, was quick to criticize the plan.

“Californians need permanent, real tax relief, not just one-time stimulus checks,” Faulconer said. “Our state is unaffordable because of Gavin Newsom’s failed leadership, which has forced countless families to flee our state.”

Another recall contender, Rancho Santa Fe businessman John Cox, also panned the stimulus checks.

“Gavin Newsom is making one-time payments to Californians to avoid being recalled,” Cox said. “But, Californians can’t be bought. Now is when we should be making big changes that will shake-up Sacramento, lower taxes and make California permanently more affordable.”

Updated at 2:45 p.m., Monday, May 10, 2021

City News Service contributed to this article.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.